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Brant Bjork | Mankind Woman

The former Kyuss & Fu Manchu drummer totally chillaxes in a laid-back headspace.

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Dude, check this: Some folks mellow out as they get older. And some just switch to mellower drugs. Like, wow, right? I know. Now, I’m not sure which of those applies to former Kyuss and Fu Manchu drummer Brant Bjork. But on his 13th solo album Mankind Woman, the 45-year-old desert rocker is, like, totally chillaxing in a laid-back headspace, you know? So you can forget about the muscle-car punch, power-chord riffage and fuzz-busting energy he used to crank out with his old bros. Instead, these 11 cuts take their foot off the gas, ease the seat back and cruise through Joshua Tree in a lower, slower gear. Dig: Grooves are kinda loose and lazy. Beats have a little more funk in the trunk. Guitars are still fully committed to the mystical cult of the wah-wah — some things never change, am I right? — but undeniably dialed back and more melodic. Ditto Brant’s vocals, which actually sound a bit like Jack Bruce back in his Cream days — especially on one song called (no fooling) 1968. Actually, when you think about it, that year seems to be behind a lot of what Bjork is up to here, what with all the heavy psychedelia, canyon-sized echo, Beefhearty blues and head-trip lyrics about lazy wizards, feminist energy and trying to get a little mercy from The Man. All of which makes Mankind Woman far out, right on and solid in its own way. Hey, I just had a righteous idea: Let’s fire up the lava lamp, crank up the tube amp and spark up some of whatever he’s having. Cool? Cool.