Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why Are We Not Perfect EP - Jesu

Why Are We Not Perfect EP

Hydrahead Records.

SCQ Rating: 74%

If it appears as though SCQ is suddenly Jesu-crazy, it's because Jesu, codename Justin Broadrick, is EP-crazy, following up his five releases in 2007 with another three in 2008. This, his third, finds the material he recorded for a split 7" with Eluvium last year re-issued on compact disc for the first time, supplemented with two alternative versions.

Although his hectic release schedule often sees older collaborations unveiled within weeks of brand new endevours, thereby skewing the Jesu timeline, Why Are We Not Perfect EP is a not-so-unexpected continuation of Broadrick's electronic infatuation, captured expertly in the Lifeline EP. Here, he digs deeper into the details of production, arguably spending more time tweaking knobs than fine-tuning arrangements. Gone are the meaty guitars that permeated 'Lifeline' or thrashed 'End of the Road', replaced instead with looped soundwaves or digitized guitar tones that make up 'Farewell's slowcore haze. That and its title track both feature Broadrick's treated vocals, floating into the ether but as well-suited to the material as ever, the latter song building on patient fuzz-chords before waking into full stretches of distorted guitar. The intended plodding of these tunes is refreshingly divided by 'Blind and Faithless', an instrumental track that picks up the pace and embraces My Bloody Valentine like no previous Jesu outing. Indeed, this EP is the inevitable culmination where Broadrick's muses and flirtations become realized accomplices to the Jesu sound, leaving one to guess whether any room remains for his twenty-plus years' experience in metal.

The two alternative versions (of 'Farewell' and the title track) feel unnecessary, marking merely cosmetic differences from their originals that, if nothing else, add to the feeling that Jesu has always been destined to end up a one-man studio experiment. Further exposing these arrangements as ambient dream-pop, where texture and mood are favoured to structure, the alternates fade out with little heartbeat at all. With the funereal pulse and cool synths to guide your trance-like state, Why Are We Not Perfect is a half-hour of chilly electro-touched rock that prepares us for winter.

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