The Upshot: A curious amalgam of psych and Jimmy Buffet, with some reggae sprinkled on top for good measure.
BY JONATHAN LEVITT
Charles Taylor, raconteur, music impresario and Reckless Records head honcho along with his band The Brainiac 5 have released a new album for aural consumption. (Some of you may not know that the Reckless label, an outgrowth of the Chicago record store, was where all the early Bevis Frond records as well as Black Sun Ensemble records were released for the U.S. market.) On Exploding Universe The Brainiac 5 chose a less psychedelic approach than on past outings. Opening cut “Haphazard!” is a slightly ramshackle mix of brass, call and response vocals and a killer guitar solo that sets the loose tone for the rest of the record.
Most of the music contained on this album opts for a curious amalgam of psych and Jimmy Buffet, with some reggae sprinkled on top for good measure. Don’t let that put you off, because there’s plenty on offer here once you get over it not being a straight ahead psychedelic record. Lead single “You’re Body’s Alright” is the perfect convergence of all these disparate influences. The spoken vocals have a Stranglers’ “Something Better Change” vibe about them. The music here conjures the feeling of downing a couple cans of Tecate at a backyard barbeque. The boozy, relaxed nature of the record would probably translate well to an outdoor concert setting, where people can get up and groove along with its rather chilled out vibe. You get a sense across these 10 tracks that the band is letting down what hair they have left and enjoying themselves. “Beauty of It All” is the lone track that sets aside the brass infused vibe for a more-straight ahead plaintive number. This is a tad jarring in the context of the record, but as odd man out it’s also the most endearing song on the album and shows a viable alternative for the band if they choose to pursue such a direction in the future.
DOWNLOAD: “Haphazard!” “Beauty of It All” “I’m the Glue” “You’re Body’s Alright”