At this point in my life I don’t really claim to be an aficionado of much except trusting my gut on just about everything. Not a fool proof plan by any means, but intuition has served me well over the years – like when you just know a record is going to be good before the needle drops; like when the cover has three astronauts in a distorted haze pitted against three larger than life insects; now not every challenging scenario in life has that kind of tapestry to clue you into the next great move, so when Cardinal Fuzz, Little Cloud Records and The Janitors give me the obvious invitation to dive in, I do just that…without hesitation.
Drone Head is a long time coming, its tracks birthed almost 8 years ago in the Stockholm band’s personal studio, the kind of hole I could only imagine would be one huge exploding ketamine vial. With a roster of current and past/vacationing members that nearly rivals Brian Jonestown Massacre’s parade of percussive and noise kindling henchmen, the music on this record is loud, scuzzy, addictive and at times pretty vicious.
The band calls it ‘evil shoegaze boogie woogie’, I call it a meaner, cooler version of a Reid brothers experiment gone awry, like Automatic drenched in silicon fuzz and left to die in the crust of a hornet’s nest. From the moment Do It Again kicks in, the JAMC references are clear, but the threat of actual detonation separates The Janitors from the usual pack of imitators. Yeah, they’re cool, but not too cool to let their music teeter on the verge of insanity and near disintegration, all the while miraculously maintaining a coherent rhythm.
I call it a meaner, cooler version of a Reid brothers experiment gone awry, like Automatic drenched in silicon fuzz and left to die in the crust of a hornet’s nest…
Despite the chaos, these are pop songs at the core, capable of trance inducing trips where staring at a paint chipped wall until your eyes water seems just, well, reasonable. Whether it’s the clean, driving rock of Long Way Back or the loud, head nodding romp of Strap Me Down, much of this band’s arsenal relies on good ole fashioned stellar song writing.
It’s easy to get lost in droning feedback that goes nowhere, using noise as a crutch for poor musicianship, but it’s an entirely different beast when a band makes your ears bleed as a calculation. The slow build and eruption that makes A-Bow such a powerful track is obviously no accident; its terminal oblivion of repetitive riff rock is the same “it” that made listening to Spacemen 3 such a viable alternative to a heroin overdose.
The take home message? Trust your instincts on this one and get your hands on the limited two colour Beer & Weed vinyl re-issue. The Janitors will thank you, Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud Records will thank you, and you’ll be a healthier, happier and a better human being.
Scribed by: Jeremy Moore