Brant Bjork, what can you say about a man with such a great pedigree, whether solo or as part of a band the drummer/guitarist.bassist and vocalist's name has always been associated with good music.
Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Mondo Generator and Vista Chino have all benefited from having the Palm Desert multi-instrumentalist within their ranks but its as a solo artist that Bjork really comes into his own as can be witnessed on his latest audio outing "Tao of The Devil".
Its always interesting when approaching a Brant Bjork album to find exactly which Brant Bjork your actually going to get, given his background of chameleon-like diversity a new Brant Bjork project could go any number of ways. "Tao Of The Devil" however sees Bjork embracing the blues, not in a delta "My baby done left me" type of way but in more of a UK " Red Lebanese makes you weak at the knees" soulful hard rock way, in other words you get a feeling Bjork has been listening to quite a bit of 70's classic rock of late.
"Gree Heen" kicks things off with Bjork's soulful voice singing "we have everything we need, we got the gree heen", alone but for a bluesy guitar motif. The rest of the band then come in and the song falls into loose but perfectly executed heavy blues groove that apart from its lysergic middle section, recalls Maryland's Clutch in their more bluesy moments and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
"Humble Pie" is the perfect title for a song that would not have sounded out of place on any of the 70's band with the same name's iconic albums. Dave Dinsmore – Bass, Ryan Goode - Drums and Bubba Dupree – Guitar. together with Bjork perfectly capture the soulful blues and hard rock of Steve Marriott's four piece yet save the song from veering into the realms of pastiche by injecting into those familiar grooves elements of outlaw country and southern rock swagger and in doing so stamp their own identity all over them.
"Stackt" sees Bjork falling back into old habits with the ex-Kyuss man soulfully vocalising over a stuttering mid -tempo desert groove replete with fuzz drenched guitar, powerful percussion and booming heavy bass.
"Luvin'"s stop start refrain is both delicious and addictive and is the base around which Bjork wraps a perfectly pitched vocal that has a slightly mellower tone than employed on the albums previous tracks and is complimented by some superb musicianship from all involved.
"Biker No.2" finds Bjork diving once again into the southern end of rocks spectrum albeit with a nice dose of psychedelic texturing. Bjork sings the songs lyrical melody with a slightly laid back delivery over a heavily fuzzed desert groove that to Desert Psychlists battered ears has a touch of Johnny Van Zant era Lynyrd Skynyrd about it.
"Dave's War" explodes into life with the sort of dirty fuzzed groove Brant Bjork built his reputation on and initially sees the curly-haired one ditching his usually soul edged vocals for a more in your face stoner approach, that is until about a quarter of the way in when things start to get a little lysergic and funky. Bjork and the band slip into a psych drenched groove that explores both Far and Middle-Eastern themes while still keeping one Cuban heeled boot frmly in the blues. Beautifully structured and executed to perfection by musicians at the top of their game it almost seems a shame when it comes to its fuzzy tripped out conclusion.
Title track "Tao Of The Devil" closes the album, a deeply atmospheric blues lament whose last line "I've got the blues deep in my bones" sums the albums general vibe and theme better in eight words than Desert Psychlist could do with a thousand.
Check it out...
Tao Of The Devil will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Napalm Records from Sept 30th 2016.