After careful consideration, I’ve decided I would gladly give my left testicle for the opportunity to pull a Being John Malkovich on Stephen McBean at the exact moment he decided, Enough with the sex. What the world needs now is a stoner-rock album about Jesus! That’s right: With Axis of Evol, the man who brought us “I (Fuck) Mountains,” “Sweet ’69” and “Bad Boogie Ballin'” has decided to sing the praises of the lord — to the accompaniment of hazy, washed-out guitars.
I’m sure McBean had nothing but the noblest of intentions in mind with this project — and far be it from me to question a man’s religious convictions — but he might want to consider the following: If songs such as “Lord, Let Us Shine” didn’t stand side by side with “New Drug Queens,” he might end up coming off a little more sincere. “Now wait just a minute,” you might say. “What if religion is the new drug he’s trying to sell?” It’s an interesting theory, but it doesn’t account for “Slaves,” a slice of psychedelia so drug-soaked it would cause Nancy Reagan to pull a Linda Blair. Again, if McBean is down with the man upstairs, then more power to him. All I’m saying is that if I were the almighty, I’d want to keep him the hell away from innocent Sufjan Stevens; otherwise it’ll be up to Kanye to spread the word.
McBean’s puzzling about-face aside, Axis of Evol is yet another solid release from the Black Mountain frontman; the aforementioned psychedelics together with McBean’s deadpan delivery, creating hypnotic effects. Lyrically, the album falls into the “less is more” camp, with McBean using his trademark stark language to purvey his message. “How We Can Get Free” certainly doesn’t pull any punches: “Jesus/ What do you believe?/ Sweet Jesus/ Is this hell that you see?/ Jesus/ We’re in a holy rage/ Won’t you tell us/ how we can get free?” If God has a sense of humor, this song will end up on the series finale of 7th Heaven. Stay tuned.
“New Drug Queens” MP3 (Right Click Save As)Jagjaguwar Web site