Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? Image
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: The 11th album for the Anton Newcombe-led rock band features the return of bassist/guitarist Matt Hollywood, who left the group in 1999.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Half remembered, half acknowledged, half understood, it is, in short, very subtly brilliant.
  2. If anything, the album almost feels like a spiritual sequel to their full-length debut, "Methodrone," with its similarly lengthy tracks and more studio-focused approach rather than live rock & roll bash and crash, but where that album drowned a bit in the end, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? finds its creators at a remarkable new high.
  3. Flitting between ambient sequences and army-of-guitars maelstroms, this 71-minute magnum opus was recorded in Berlin and Iceland, but loaded with rampant Anglophilia, evident in a Joy Division homage and John Lennon interview clips.
  4. Pepper finds the band attacking a multitude of oddball genres--the disc spins from post-rock to electronica to rock to sheer noise--with a frightening focus for such sonic stream-of-consciousness exploits.
  5. It’s a melee of styles and disparate ideas – some inspired, some falling woefully short. If its sheer reach borders on folly, it’s still enjoyable as hell.
  6. It's the Brian Jonestown Massacre album that's the least informed by the usual parade of 1960s mod/psych influences, opting instead for flirtations with disco rhythms, drum loops, boom-box beats and house-diva wails. In a sense, Newcombe has simply replaced one form of repetition (droning/jangly guitar jams) for another (dance workouts).
  7. Only toward the end of the record does BJTM finally let up, delivering a couple relaxed and half-realized shoegaze jams (“Super Fucked” and “Our Time”) that come close to being good. Sadly, it is all for naught.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Dec 17, 2013
    10
    Anton finally reaches his new sound after 2 somewhat difficult releases. This is a quintessential BJM album with great songs that simply refuse to quit my playlist, Let's go F mental Expand
  2. Feb 6, 2012
    10
    As I enter my fifth decade of passionate love for rock and all of its variations, I notice myself buying fewer and fewer albums--not less music but fewer complete CDs. BJM is one of a handful of bands that makes albums, rather than mere collections of songs, and "Who Killed Sgt. Pepper" is a perfect example. Yes, there's a lot of variety, as the professional critics point out, but there's also a kind of conversation among the various songs. To cite just one example, different songs take different approaches to questions about the role of language in music: what is the relationship of sound to sense, for example? One song repeats a crude, perfectly clear phrase over and over ("Let's Go **** Mental"); in the next, a woman's echoing voice speaks so unintelligibly that it's impossible to tell what language she's speaking, never mind what she's saying ("White Music"); the third lays an incantatory Icelandic vocal over a smoking, bass-heavy groove ("This Is Your Last Warning"). It's nothing so schematic as a thesis-antithesis-synthesis progression, but, rather, a series of experiments that build on one another to sketch a range of possibilities for language in rock. Unusually ambitious and very cool. All of which is not to say that "Who Killed..." doesn't also feature great songs that can stand on their own; it does. Anton Newcomb has regularly delivered killer rock tunes, and "Mental," "Someplace Else Unknown," "Tunger Hnifur" and "Feel It" stack up well to earlier stand-outs. But the band is not just rehashing earlier successes; like the "dance" songs on the album, the rock tunes have a smoldering new edge, with louder, dirtier drums and bass than I ever would have expected from BJM. In short, I love this record and its contradictions: its chaos and its sophisticated unities; its grinding sexuality and its intellectual reach. I expect to keep buying BJM's albums, in their entirety, for many years to come. Expand