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

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Discipline - Push & Profit – Discipline are a young five-piece band from Detroit, Michigan, whose instrumentation includes the usual bass/drums/keys/guitars with the fifth and front man doing vocals/violin/keys/guitar. While they...  (1994) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues