Jesu – Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came

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Jesu
Everyday I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came
Avalanche Recordings

It was just over two years ago when I was expecting my first children. My wife was in hospital with our newborn twins ready to enter the world. Yet while I was still in work, and still on the long commutes, I was able to escape into another world, owing largely to the music of the time; a sense that seemed to prevent parenthood from fully being realized until the moment they finally arrived. At which point, everything changed. It was like a switch that flicked in my head and all of a sudden a new mentality was also born. Whatever parenthood represents for Justin K. Broadrick, having just become a father himself for the first time while recording the new Jesu album ‘Everyday I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came‘, it seems to have shaped the context of this release, which places less emphasis on riffs and more on atmospherics and emotion than in some of his previous work.

Starting with the post-punk beat of ‘Homesick’, Broadrick’s familiar tone rides atop a mournful melody that begins in some ways with a bit of spring in its step, though not uncharacteristic of Broadrick or Jesu in any form. Following on from this, the haunting sounds of ‘Comforter’ and the title track set the pattern for reflection – rarely does music affect me on an emotional level like Jesu’s does, and rarely better than right here. ‘Comforter’ particularly yanks the heart, without question the most beautiful song I’ve heard all year, the ghostly piano accompanying a reverse drum loop and a riff that builds in such fashion it’s almost overwhelming, such is how good it is. Eventually we reach ‘The Great Leveller’, a 17-minute monolith that thematically charters the life-changing event of parenthood, beginning in slightly more uplifting fashion with a slow marching beat providing the patter behind beautiful string and piano melody, before unleashing an appropriately levelling riff that ranks amongst the heaviest produced over the course of Jesu history. It shifts into chugging territory before hitting a lull around the eight minute mark, soaring again five minutes later and finishing an appropriately lifting climax. Such is Broadrick’s status it’s easy to overlook the contribution of Nicola Manzan, the one-man orchestra here who sets the sorrowful and beautiful stringwork against Broadrick’s towering bass and guitars during ‘The Great Leveller’. Do so at your peril. The two combine perfectly over through its genesis into a near overwhelming cathartic end section. So much so that ‘Grey in the Colour’ feels slightly meagre, but only for being in the shadow of such greatness before it.

I was personally left disappointed by ‘Ascension‘ in 2011, perhaps due to my own expectations, but Jesu in 2013 is arguably Jesu’s best since the days of ‘Conqueror‘, and as the nights get longer and winter draws closer, ‘Everyday…’ will undoubtedly be the soundtrack of the season; challenging yet familiar, a warming and indeed stirring return from Broadrick that has left me hoping that such moments of shining grace await in the future.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Everyday I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came‘ here
Stream it below:

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