Call for Book Reviewers and Bloggers

cover art

The Golden Hands Before God Conducts Incredible Magic Band & The Spirits


(Pop Echo; US: 14 Oct 2008; UK: Unavailable; Canada release date: 9 Sep 2008)

They oozed out of the dingy sweat bars of the Canadian North with a list of classic rock influences twice as long as its full name right onto the forehead of America. The Golden Hands Before God Conducts Incredible Magic Band & The Spirits have brought down with them a debut record delicately packed with a fine smattering of early Rolling Stones jams drenched in druggy drumming, raucous party riffs, and double tracked vocals dripping with reverb. However, the album itself falls short of following through on the promise of divine transcendence that the name of the band makes.

These songs were, by and large, already written, recorded, and released by the fantastically talented and horribly egotistical Anton Newcombe’s Brian Jonestown Massacre and, to a lesser extent, the Dandy Warhols. With their Ontario charm, Here is presented with less pretention than Newcombe is capable of—despite their drawn out name—and that makes them a little more accessible. Even with that working for them, the spark of soulful originality and divine creativity that gloms every aspect of the first nine BJM long-players is simply not here. It’s fine enough at face value, but it certainly will not inspire you to see spirits, incredible magic, god, or anything terribly remarkable. I thought I saw a gremlin for a second, but it turned out to be the face of the little boy I ran over on that back road seven years ago that night reflecting into my soul through a vortex, judging me with his vengeful gaze. I believe that was mere coincidence.


Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.

The Golden Hands Before God - One Fine Morning (Excerpt)
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Win a 15-CD Pack of Brazilian Music CDs from Six Degrees Records! in PopMatters Contests on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.