Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?

  • Record Label: A
  • Release Date: Feb 23, 2010

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. 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.
  2. There will be those who'll look at the sleeve, read the controversial title and dismiss the record on the assumption that Anton Newcombe has lost his marbles again. However, venture beyond Who Killed Sgt Pepper's disparaging parameters and there's several exquisite gems to be discovered here.
  3. As always the songs veer wildly from ambient interludes, funky Beta Band-esque workouts to fierce garage rockers. Looking at the material here though, they remain a band to be reckoned with. Their lo-fi, experimental psych rock is as potent as ever with Newcombe a character to be cherished.
  4. 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.
  5. At over 71 minutes, the album is overlong, but at least it is cohesive.
  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. 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.
  8. Half remembered, half acknowledged, half understood, it is, in short, very subtly brilliant.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Uncut
    Their latest was recorded in Berlin and Iceland, with whichever musicians were around at the time, lending Newcombe's whacked-out psychedelia cum space/drone rock a stoned-jam feel that doesn't always work to the songs' advanatge. [Apr 2010, p.83]
  12. Q Magazine
    Thier latest mixes elements of ambient, post-punk and psychedelia. Often a recipe for a mess, there are moments of coherence. [Mar 2010, p.97]
  13. Filter
    From the album's opening electro-tribal groove to Tunger Hnifer's distorted bass and scratching vocals, the instrumentation throughout Who Killed Sgt. Pepeer? is both massive and of the varied type. [Winter 2010, p.98]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Feb 6, 2012
    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 lessAs 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. Full Review »
  2. Dec 17, 2013
    Anton finally reaches his new sound after 2 somewhat difficult releases. This is a quintessential BJM album with great songs that simplyAnton 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 Full Review »