Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bad Brains RETURNS to "Build A Nation"

...Attention all of you green-hair-faded-grey punk rockers, Bad Brains have returned to replenish the ranks of the faithful with the LP Build a Nation, scheduled to hit the streets on June 26th so lets dive right on into the fray...the set begins with the appropriately titled "In the Beginning" which sails on out of the speakers informing the listener that the Brains are back and the album highlights begin to sally forth with the roots rockin' reggae of "Peace Be Unto Thee", an ode to the Most High that captures Dr. Know (guits), Daryll Jenifer (bass), Earl Hudson (traps) and his brother Paul (throat) in a rub-a-dub style, a sonic thrust that eases on into the crunch-up called "Send No Flowers"-- check for those stripped chord progressions that have been appropriated and labeled de riguer by new school punk posers for all intents and purposes but these cats explored that territory before most of 'em were a twinkle in their daddy's eyes...their seminal self titled debut album actually wasn't: it was a cassette...

...the chunks of hardcore continue flying on "Let There Be Angels (Just Like You)", another hard-charging mosh pit number wherein the Brains bring out the chops on a couple of those mid-song breakdown breathers and keep on keeping on (check the ending) the uninitiated, the "love Far-I stuff" might come off ass a trifle preachy but these guys are as unrepentant as ever about their love of Jah (because it was never a sales gimmick, son) which make a band that will stand for something seem like an O.O.P.A. (what paleontologists call an out of place artifact) from a time when people preferred to eschew the pop-isms and spoke their minds, pay checks be damned (which almost looks as crazy in type as it might sound)... the dub factor continues with "Roll On", a skanky keyboard bubbler that brings the chalice to straight to the palace and begs for a Horace Swaby dub treatment and then "Univeral Peace" pick up the pace for three more minutes of that stuff heard on "Sailing On" from back in the day-- at points dyed-in-the-wool BB fans will crave one of those ear-busting shrieks but these guys are older and mellowed out but they still manage to get down to brass tacks and pull out the snap-and-crack which is evidenced on "Build a Nation", the title number, that stomps up in the listener's facial space as it pogo's right into "Expand Your Soul" which follows it and sounds not unlike a slowed down version of "Don't Blow No Bubbles" from 1990's Quickness release (which some consider the last proper Bad Brains release)...and speaking of toasting it up and Horace Swaby (A. Pablo) the cut "Natty Dreadlocks Pon the Mountain Top" actually makes use of an obscure bass line from the maestro's dub songbook while HR drops some DJ-styled lyrics with some of that mid-Atlantic flavor-- so check for the flow...a fitting tribute if ever there was one...

...the outro, "Pure Love", will remind the sucker ducks who grew up listening to music influenced by the stuff they laid down in seedy recording booths in NYC's alphabet City years ago why, to this day, the Bad Brains crew get the Duke Ellington treatment by people like the Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch (who produced this offering himself)...full review continued here

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