“Keep Your Cool” marks itself as easily one of Bjork's most accessible and catchiest album. A direct continuation of the raw, straight-to-the-point rocker that was the “Brant Bjork and The Operators” record, it also brings back some of the more relaxed, levitating aura of “Jalamanta” resulting into a best-of-both worlds scenario. Starting out with funky guitar rhythms and congas “Hey, Monkey Boy” is a short and entertaining opener that sets up the stage to the other tracks. The songwriting for the most part is as about simple as it can get, with mid-paced, often blues/funk influenced riffs leading them, accompanied with Bjork’s relaxed, swagger-filled vocals. But don’t mistake this for laziness because these are well-written and effective riffs that are delivered with crystal clear precision. Thus with songs “Johnny Called” or “Gonna Make The Scene” Brant proves that you don’t have to go for 10+ minute long, abstract feedback-driven jamming to deliver good stoner rock. A good head-banger" A soulful ballad" A relaxing, acoustic guitar piece" “Keep Your Cool” has all of them. No to mention sweet guitar licks, a beefy production and a great, positive vibe that oozes from the 70’s and weed (especially in the Cream-like “I Miss My Chick”) With eight songs and 33 minutes it’s short, sweet, delivers the punch and keeps up its replay value high. “Keep Your Cool” is like every Brant Bjork record: The honest sound and music of a dude that you would want to hang out and party with.
Reviewed by SputnikMusic.com: Brant Bjork has spent over a quarter-century at the epicenter of Californian desert rock. From cutting his teeth alongside Fatso Jetson’s Mario Lalli in hardcore punkers De-Con to drumming and composing on Kyuss’ landmark early albums, to propelling the seminal fuzz of Fu Manchu from 1994-2001 while producing other bands, putting together offshoot projects like Ché, embarking on his solo career as a singer, guitarist and bandleader, founding his own record label and more, his history is a winding narrative of relentless, unflinching creativity. For someone so outwardly laid back, he’s never really taken a break. And while Bjork has shown different sides of himself on albums like his funk-laden 1999 solo debut, Jalamanta, the mellow Local Angel (2004), 2007’s mostly-acoustic Tres Dias, and heavier rockers Somera Sól (2007), Gods & Goddesses (2010) and the two most recent outings with The Low Desert Punk Band, he’s maintained a natural representation of himself in his material, whether that’s coming across in the Thin Lizzy-isms of the faux-full-band 2002 release Brant Bjork and the Operators (actually just Bjork playing mostly by himself) or the weedy, in-the-jam-room spirit of “Dave’s War” from Tao of the Devil. When you’re listening to Brant Bjork, you know it, because there’s no one else who sounds quite like him.
That fact and years of hard touring have positioned Brant Bjork as an ambassador for the Southern California desert and the musical movement birthed there in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. As underground interest has surged in recent years, Bjork has been a pivotal figurehead, realigning with his former Kyuss bandmate John Garcia to drum and write in Kyuss Lives!/Vista Chino, celebrating and building on that legacy while giving a new generation of fans the chance to see it happen in real-time.
Having told his story in films like Kate McCabe’s Sabbia (2006) and the documentaries Such Hawks Such Hounds (2008) and Lo Sound Desert (2015), he’s represented desert rock at home and abroad with no less honesty than that which he poured into the music helping to create it. The same impulse led to the founding of his Desert Generator in 2016, an annual festival held in Pioneertown, CA, with an international reach capturing the intimacy and timeless aura of the desert culture, including music, a van show, the Stoned & Dusted pre-show in a secret desert location, and an evolution that looks to continue into the foreseeable future.
Bjork’s work, with any project, has always had a rebellious sensibility. He’s always walked his own path. But more, his career through Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Ché, Vista Chino, and his crucial solo work has been about freedom through rock and roll, attained by the truest representation of the person and the place as art. This, along with a whole lot of groove, is what has helped Brant Bjork define desert rock as a worldwide phenomenon, and whatever comes next, it is what will continue to make him its most indispensable practitioner.