A personal note: I have a soft spot in my heart for The Brown Book. I’ve been following them since March 2010 when this site was a whopping four months old. I’ve reviewed nearly everything they’ve released, beginning with Thirty-Nothing (2009), and then Pyramid Scheme, (2011), and then a track named “Queer Street” (2012), which turns out to be a precursor to the album I’m about to review — though I did miss their live version of Pyramid Scheme. They’re completely DIY and lo-tech in their approach to recording, they’re scattered around the country (Boston, Brooklyn, San Diego, Cookeville, TN), they’re hardly prolific, and they don’t seek or get much attention when they put out new music apart from friends and the small scattered cadre of people like me who get excited when word of a new release reaches their ears.
I also have a soft spot in my head for The Brown Book. It’s that place where, over the years, their music has hammered away until the skull has been shattered with micro-fractures and you can feel the sponginess underneath. Their latest cranial demolition job is this year’s III: America’s Guest, and it’s their best work yet.
The new album is one long song, weighing in at 20:26. Unlike their previous releases, this one includes vocals — despite the fact that in my previous reviews I wrote that adding vocals would be a mistake. I’ll come back to that later, after I’ve mustered enough grit to admit I was wrong.