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Brain Police - Beyond the Wasteland

  by Paul Raven

published: 29 / 1 / 2008



Brain Police - Beyond the Wasteland
Label: Small Stone Records
Format: CD

intro

Timeless old-school stoner rock on fourth album from Brain Police, who are a Top Ten act in their native Iceland


Ah, stoner rock – music from hot dry countries, wide open spaces with few signs of life or habitation for miles in every direction. Almost exactly like where Brain Police are from, with one exception – Iceland isn't exactly the hottest part of the world. For Brain Police are indeed from Iceland, and have scored top ten hits there. They also come heartily recommended by one of the chilly nations' best known musical exports; personally, I was a touch surprised to find that Jonsi of Sigur Ros is a fan of old-school riff metal, but listening to 'Beyond The Wasteland' it's clear that he knows quality music when he hears it, whatever the genre. Because, make no mistake, Brain Police make one of the most authentic stoner rock rackets you'll hear anywhere. Everything a fan of the style could possibly want is here, but with no unnecessary extras, no frills and filigree. Just straight-up riffs, polished to a dark black shine in keys as low as a guitar will tune without being fitted for extra strings; thundering drums and bass creating a rhythm as hypnotic and powerful as the beat of truck tyres on a long desert highway; bluesy melodic solos and lead hooks. Leading the group into battle are the Wyndorf-esque psychedelic howls and roars of frontman Jens Olafsson – who you'd think as likely to be a refugee of early 70's California as noughties Iceland, to judge by his singing. He has a superb voice, full of character and gruff rock credibility. So, the sound is spot on, right down to some muted cowbell, that distancing reverb on the vocals and warm fuzzy distortion all over the instruments. Not to mention classic stoner rock song titles like 'Hot Chicks and Hell Queens', 'Human Volume' and the eponymous 'Beyond The Wasteland'. The overall effect is something like what we might have got had Kyuss been a homage rather than a pastiche. The one thing Brain Police aren't going to do is convert the sceptics. Anyone who is predisposed to thinking that retro riff-rock is lumpen musical revivalism will find little to convince them otherwise, and will wander off muttering clichés about bongs and blacklight posters. Sadly for them, they'll have missed the point. There's a timeless glory in the thrum and blatter of a proper stoner band, and Brain Police deliver the goods. So come take a journey 'Beyond The Wasteland'.



Track Listing:-
1 Rooster Booster
2 Hot Chicks & Hell Queens
3 Black Tulip
4 Thunderbird
5 Snake
6 Mystic Lover
7 The Baron
8 Leo
9 Human Volume
10 Beyond The Wasteland
11 Sweet Side Of Evil


Label Links:-
http://smallstone.com/
https://twitter.com/ssrecordings
https://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
https://www.youtube.com/user/SmallStoneRecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/



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London Royal Albert Hall, 17/8/2002
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