Jesu

Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came

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Justin Broadrick's Jesu project has always walked a loose tightrope between the dense modal post-rock of bands like Pelican and Isis, and the shoegaze sound of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. Jesu's records have been either haunting and beautiful (usually the EPs), or almost suffocatingly dull for all their glacial repetition (the overly long albums). Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came falls into the former category. Over five tracks and nearly 45 minutes, Broadrick not only touches variously on every musical phase Jesu has visited previously, but stresses the power of lyricism via myriad textures and actual dynamics over sheer metallic force. Opener "Homesick" is melodically reliant on a fingerpicked guitar that floats through a thrumming bassline just under the power chords; it wafts above a prominent drum loop. His vocals, though plaintive, are pronounced in the mix; they express yearning simply and directly. "Comforter" stands in contrast, bathed in backmasked vocals and guitars; a simple, repetitive piano line à la Sigur Rós rises to the fore, answered by chiming guitar chords. By the time his multi-tracked vocals deliver the lyrics, keyboards emulating strings answer the guitars and percussion, stretching the melody. The more uptempo "Everyday" melds the best elements of both tracks. The guazy quality is lessened, but its lyricism is more pronounced. Driven by a distorted bassline and reverbed drums, it contains an almost dub-like intensity despite being more uptempo. The nearly 18-minute "The Great Leveller" is structured like a suite. In various sections it delivers the heavier, post-rock end of Jesu's sound, with thudding tom-toms, crunching, martial guitar riffs, and detuned basses. These are balanced elsewhere by spacious, string-like effects, wispy hypnotic keyboards, and Broadrick's nearly aching vocals -- even when they employ Auto-Tune! Various themes recur, but with different orchestrations that give the track a more labyrinthine feel. Closer "Grey Is the Colour" is ironically titled, given its timbral differentials; it's almost majestic in spots. Everyday I Get Closer to the Light is perfectly weighted in its dynamics and textural elements; it can be sedate and simple, or powerfully and intricately articulated. Lyrically and melodically it plumbs the depths of emotion, making it among the most compelling entries in Jesu's catalog.

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