Bound together by loping, bass-driven rhythms burnished with an electronica haze (the shoegazed “Tempo 116.7 [Reaching for Dangerous Levels of Sobriety]”), gutterfuzz guitars jacketed with messy feedback wails (the gnashing “”Tunger Hnifer”) and groove-heavy dance-stompers (‘Let’s Go Fucking Mental”) — and that’s just the first three tracks — Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? is not your average Brian Jonestown Massacre album. Nor is it their worst, with Anton Newcombe and company (this time: Spaceland 3’s Will Carruthers and former ex-BJM guitarist Matt Hollywood, among others) bouncing back from the mishmashed mess of 2008’s My Bloody Underground while also routinely avoiding the ‘60s psych-rock revisionism that made the band’s earlier discography such a revelation of thrilling rock ‘n’ roll. No, 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.
Not all of it works (“This is the First of Your Last Warning” sounds like warmed-over Eurodance pap), but when the band is on fire (such as the bizarre, robotic world music flourishes of “Dekta! Dekta! Dekta!” and the frenzied, Joy Division-sampling “This is the One Last Thing We Did Not Want to Have Happen”), they sound like a group at the very beginning of their career, full of rowdy energy and a habit to leap forward without looking. Sgt. Pepper may be dead, but it sounds like the Brian Jonestown Massacre still has some life left in it, after all.