THE BRAIN POLICE ARE:
Jón Bjorn Ríkardsson: Drums & Gong
Gunnlaugur Lárusson: Guitar
Hordur Stefánsson: Bass
Jens Ólafsson: Vocals
Úlpa, Aaron, Tormentor: Clapping
Produced by Brain Police with Hrannar Ingimarsson.
Engineered and mixed by Hrannar Ingimarsson.
Recorded at Grjótnáman, Hafnarfjordur Thule studios, Reykjavík.
Mixed at Thule studios, Reykjavík.
Tracks 12 and 13: Produced by Brain Police.
Engineered and mixed by Axel Árnason.
Recorded at Grjótnáman, Hafnarfjordur Thule Studios, Reykjavík.
Mixed at Thule studios.
Mastered by Axel Árnason at Thule Studios.
Artwork Design by Modi.
Back cover photo by Bjorgvin Sigurdsson.
Icelandic stoner rockers Brain Police truly arrived (in their homeland, at least) with this, their second full album (but first since admitting new singer Jens Ólafsson into the fold), and its pair of breakout hits, including the local number one, "Jacuzzi Suzy." Originally unleashed on the quartet's 2002 Master Brain EP, the song was tacked onto the end of Brain Police -- the album -- alongside another EP favorite "Taste the Flower," and, thus, rounded out a very solid, if stylistically rather conventional stoner rock set, which effectively put Iceland on the hesher map. In essence, the Brain Police specialize in a crunchy, fuzz-toned, and economical derivation of the genre, reminiscent of bands such as Dozer and Fu Manchu, and the latter's influence is particularly felt on the laid-back grooves, occasionally spoken lyrics, and even cowbell peppering "Free Lovin' Temptress" and "Johnny Babas." But the quartet also knows how to turn up the intensity and really pound the asphalt à la Nebula with hard-charging highlights "Rocket Fuel" (that other hit mentioned earlier) and "El Duderino"; or, extrapolate their songwriting for some excellent tripped-out jams in "The Journey Is the Destination" and "Womble Dust." Through it all, the forceful, snarling vocals of recently acquired frontman Ólafsson are probably the most crucial ingredient (see the brilliantly named "Return to the Lovechopper of Destiny," in particular), giving Gunnlaugur Lárusson's ripping guitar tones a real run for their money. To be perfectly honest, no song here sounds like an all-timer for the stoner rock genre, but there's still much to love about the Brain Police and their volcanic island thunder.
- Eduardo Rivadavia