Exposé Online banner

The Brainiac 5 — Journey to X
(Reckless Records RECCD104, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-04-21

Journey to X Cover art

Looking back on the history of The Brainiac 5, there is a clear progression, from psych / space inflected punkish pub rock to more professional-sounding and sophisticated material — though without losing that punk spirit, and never sounding stuffy. Journey to X continues that trend, with two tracks topping the ten-minute mark and involving various sections worked together. “The Human Scapegoat” is the best example. It starts as a jangly neo-psych tune, then takes a left turn into a warped march rhythm with a freaked-out guitar solo. This eventually works its way into a heavier section, followed by a variation of the first section. The next part starts out with a tinkling kalimba which builds into a space-rock jam with slide guitar. A reprise of the middle section leads into a distorted kalimba coda backed by a rolling triplet beat unlike anything else in the track. It’s just over 12 minutes of interesting changes, and while none of the sections is especially complicated on its own, the result reminds me of 70s bands who took their rock songs and built them into suites. Other tracks on Journey to X go in a lot of different directions. “Some Things” features a screaming harmonica solo; “At Noon” is a psych-flavored song backed with acoustic guitar; “Laura Riding” features a slinky riff, some nice electric piano, a great wah-wah guitar solo, and humorous spoken narration in the middle; “The World Inside” takes a jazzy turn with a female vocalist. “Kill It” is the other lengthy track on the album, and it takes a different path than “The Human Scapegoat,” being one song with an instrumental section in the middle that isn’t completely different from the verses. In the midst of the current crop of neo-psychedelic rock bands, The Brainiac 5 forge their own path, more Hawkwind than Strawberry Alarm Clock, and provide an ever-improving version of their style on every new album.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): The Brainiac 5

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Nexus - Perpetuum Karma – This Argentine symphonic band made a big splash back around the turn of the decade, fronted by beautiful lead singer with golden voice, Mariela Gonzalez, leading to invitations to Baja and NEARfest....  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues