[sic] Magazine

The Janitors – Drone Head

Back in 2013, The Janitors made honest-to-goodness comfort rock, two dudes kicking back with some beers and a bong just looking to get their fuzz on. Sometimes you don’t need fancy and this reissue of their long out-of-print Drone Head doesn’t have much in the way of fireworks, but these Swedes still had plenty in the tank on their second LP, a period when they weren’t quite so doom-inclined, not so dressy, bluesy grooves and garage guitars providing the rudimentary skeleton for their desert-blown psych-rock and drones.

Comprising then just the 2012 Worker Drone Queen and Head Honcho EPs, here one new track is added along with a few remixes to justify the spend, the record otherwise still sequenced as it was. Early hazy highlight “Do It Again” hence moseys along at mid-tempo on a bass-driven lollop, the dust kicked up at its heels, the track title croaked out on repeat, fierce feedback stripping the paint from faded boundary markers as far as the eye can see. All arms and legs, a similarly loose groove follows on “Death Song”, a solemn fuzz rocker with a touch of the BRMCs in its weighty drum volleys. The oppressive fuzz then clears for a dose of slow struttin’ strumming, Jonas and Henrik inevitably stepping on the pedals half way through to snarl into the cold morning light.

There’s a sludgy neck-pop to “Long Way Back”, a rampant distortion toasting its peaks so thoroughly that the insidious melody that’s woven into “Strap Me Down” is that bit more ear-catching, its crushing fuzz and gloomy vocal winding up to ponderous drops and wah set to slice through concrete and metal alike. Before the second EP then closes out with a tremulous mirage over the badlands, we’re treated to all twelve minutes of the slow-burning epic “A-Bow”, an endurance encounter first filled with percussive shuffles, purposeful drums and dusty strumming, a spacey whoosh creeping in to fill any breathing room, and then the destructive crunch of a bass riff that drops like carefully patterned carpet bombs, the guitars taking a walk and slaying all before them.

A tough act to follow, the new track, “Nevereverism”, very much in the vein of what has gone before it, brings down the curtain with an indistinct stomp and mid-distance vocal propping up the bar ‘til the drums sidle through saloon doors demanding Scotch, dual six-shooters at their side unleashing white-hot streams of guitar fire to summon the Sheriff – the showdown at High Noon not one you’ll want to miss. Bag yourself a copy quick – these won’t hang around.

Best track: “Do It Again”

~Drone Head will be re-released Jan 17th 2020 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud Records and will be presented in a 350gsm, gloss-laminated gatefold sleeve with side A/B as beer-coloured vinyl and side C/D as weed-coloured vinyl.~