CD Review: Brant Bjork and The Low Desert Punk Band – Black Power Flower

CD Review: Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band – Black Power Flower
Napalm Records
All Access Rating: B+

Brant Bjork And The Low Desert
Punk Band - Black Power Flower 2014
Coated in psychedelic fuzz and deep-fried to a crisp in a bubbling vat of distortion, Black Power Flower doesn't go too far off the desert-rock reservation formerly inhabited by Kyuss.

Once the drummer for the pioneering stoner-metal outfit, whose legend seems to grow by the day, Brant Bjork – now a permanent fixture in Vista Chino with his old Kyuss running mate, John Garcia – takes on multi-instrumentalist duties with a new project that bears his name, Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band.

Now out on Napalm Records, Black Power Flower is a gritty, psychotropic stew of heavy, intoxicating riffs, mind-altering effects, dirty blues and ominous undercurrents. Gathering momentum in the aftermath of a doom-laden intro that recalls early Black Sabbath, the heady opener "Controllers Destroyed" becomes engorged with voluminous guitars, rumbling bass and bashed drums. Thick and rugged, "We Don't Serve Their Kind" goes from a slow burn to a steady, thundering stampede, while "Stokely Up Now" sounds more clear headed and lively, its guitars coming into sharper focus with repeated listens.

The rest of Black Power Flower is a smoky, fetid room littered with seeds and stems, junk food wrappers, pizza boxes and filthy bongs, its denizens, such as "Buddha Time (Everything Fine)" and "Soldier of Love," buzzed and slipping into comfortable comas, where tracks seem indistinguishable from one another. That's not such a terrible thing. Every track here is easy to like, throbbing with underlying tension and brimming with menacing, strong grooves that only seem lazy to the uninitiated, solid riffs with a little bit of bite to them and rhythms that move with a muscular grace. And just to show he's not a one-trick pony, Bjork tries his hand at buttery '70s funk with "That's Fact Jack" and bumps and grinds through the smoldering, sexed-up blues of "Hustler's Blues," both attempts satisfyingly seductive, earthy and organic, if not terribly original. Black Power Flower plants a seed. Now watch Brant Bjork and The Low Desert Punk Band grow.
– Peter Lindblad

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