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

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pip Pyle's Equip' Out - Up! – Recorded in fall 1991, the second release from Pip Pyle’s pet project has only recently seen the light of day on the US import market. On the occasion of Pip’s recent trip to the US and...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues