On his self-titled debut Jackson Reid Briggs, Jackson Reid Briggs blends punk rock spite and antagonism and psychedelia's widescreen visions to tell the story of a young itinerant musician wandering up and down the Australian coast.
Both punk and psychedelia are prone to becoming caricatures of themselves as people focus on the trappings and window-dressing while overlooking the spirit that inspired them. This leads to an artificially delineated genre-fixation of music, leaving bands that "only play psychedelic rock" or "only play hip-hop.” This was probably not even true when these sounds were true; it's not very believable coming out now.
It's unfortunate that more people don't blend the revolution of punk with the weirdness of psych. Psychedelia is essentially a revolution of the senses and the thinking, challenging the status quo with general oddity and a continual derangement of the senses. Punk rock is inherently about making do with what you have, tied in with revolution and freedom, and the breaking down of conventional systems. The two make for strange but easy bedfellows - it's strange they don't go together more often.
The album opener "Not Coming Home" is pure punk while not being a safety-pinned clone. Jackson Reid Briggs' snotty vocals are nearly intoned, as well as atonal, bringing to mind classic art punk like Wire and The Fall, both of whom incorporated psychedelia and avant-garde music into their stripped down punk ethos. It's a clue of what is to come, as well as what he's going for, as much of the material on Jackson Reid Briggs are acoustic folk strummers that would not sound out of place at a local coffee shop. This just goes to show that punk and psychedelia are states of mind, ways of being, rather than musical codifiers.
It also makes this music interesting, more vision-inducing, like the imagery of Briggs crawling from the pits of hell over a simple sing-a-long acoustic guitar on "The Pit.”The general oddity makes the rough quality of some aspects more palatable. Jackson Briggs' voice brings to mind a more sober and intelligible Shane McGowan from The Pogues and there is a similar vibe of punk rock roots folk here.
Briggs' even steps briefly into skeletal brown acid metal blues on "Bending Bones (demo)" proving that he can go anywhere, do anything. It's also genuinely unsettling, while never succumbing to metal's cartoonish inferno. Scarier and more moving than 500 blast beat solos!
It seems that Jackson Briggs has survived some rough times leading up to this record and has returned from the blackness with these nine songs. Immediate and personal, this artist has something unique and distinctive to say that is not confined by market trends or what other people will think of him.
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