The Janitors – Drone Head (2013)

In a packed playing field of psych bands influenced by the shoegaze genre and bands like Spacemen 3 and Jesus & Mary Chain, Swedish band The Janitors are vying for attention with such great outfits as The Black Angels, A Place To Bury Strangers, The Lucid Dream and The Cosmic Dead. When I saw them live they were on a double bill with another drone collective, The Cult Of Dom Keller.
Luckily they can deliver and signs where good when they wired up a “Drone Machine” on stage with a band member put in charge of it. Surely any band with a drone machine is going to be awesome, right? Well they were, and they are here too, on their debut album, the very efficiently titled, Drone Head.
Drone Head shimmers with a palpable sense of menace. Morose, downbeat and bleak, a sense of Scandanavian gloom has been added to drone. This is a long, harsh album of stinging guitars.
But there is an ear for melody. Staying true to Shoegaze they take a regular, catchy song then bury it under swathes of effects, building the songs into something less accessible and more interesting. On “Long Way Back” for instance they sound like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and in other places sound like Joy Division, so this is a band that can add plenty of shading to their music to keep it from sounding one dimensional. Best track is the 12 minute slab of “A-Bow”, locked into a syrupy bass line and a riff that reminds me of “View To A Kill” (yes, really), slowed to a crawl until 5 minutes in and it EXPLODES like a supernova.
Slowly teasing their tunes out, in a White Manna-ish drawl and grinding them with style and purpose, but generally providing a groove you can nod your head to, The Janitors deliver a seductive and evocative album.

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