Jesu - Silver (Hydra Head CD)
Hot off the heels of a banner year in 2005 with his Jesu project, ex-Godflesh and man of a billion projects Justin Broadrick returns with this four-song, 28-minute EP "Silver". Unlike the first two gravestones (a self-titled LP and the "Ruined" EP) from this outfit, "Silver" sees Jesu in full-band form with the addition of Diarmuid Dalton on bass and Ted Parsons on the sticks. In case you somehow went through the last couple of years without hearing what Broadrick was up to, all you have to do is imagine a breezier (but no less devastating) Godflesh with a thick coating of hope! And optimism! The music still retains the sludge metal bruisings of Broadrick's previous act, but with corners polished to a fine sheen of...silver.
Last year I read an interview with Broadrick in Terrorizer magazine in which he described Jesu as "pop music played at fuckin' 10 BPM". I thought that was a strange thing to say as even though Jesu was a lot more accessible than Godflesh, it still wasn't entirely listener-friendly. But now with "Silver" I think I see what he was getting at. This is more (way more) breezy and uplifting than any of Broadrick's metal projects to date...either the man has been listening to an unhealthy amount of My Bloody Valentine and Lush, or he's found Jesus (no pun intended).
The lead-off title-track is probably the most s/t-sounding Jesu we're going to get, with a gut-busting lead riff and Broadrick (staring at his shoes, no doubt) endlessly intoning the line "silver's just another gold". "Dead Eyes" infuses the dirginess of it all with Final, Broadrick's ambient/industrial solo project, so it comes off looking something like a (half-decent) Skinny Puppy crossed with Neurosis. The EP's highlight is probably "Wolves", with a slowed down somber electro-tinged guitar riff pouring hot and hazy lava over Parsons' monotone drum beat. Broadrick' himself is barely intelligible amidst the mire but the emotion in his voice says it all. But the real surprise is "Star", which sounds exactly like a 90's indie rock/shoegazer bedroom anthem coming from a guy who grew up listening to way too much Swans. Pure proto-metallic-pop euphoria.
Broadrick was a guy who seemed down and out towards the end of Jesu's run. Thankfully he appears creatively rejuvenated and has been in top form on all of the releases put forth by this particular project to date. Very curious to see where he takes it next...