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British Heritage: Part II. - 95%

Perplexed_Sjel, March 29th, 2008

British Heritage: Part II.

Jesu’s earliest material tends to represent what most people like to call their best era. Jesu work in stages, it seems. We had the awe inspiring drone stage, which fused a harsher blend of melody with a tinge of melancholy. We evolved into an even more ambient style than we began with, clean vocals became one of the main features of the band and evolution is sound was really beginning to take hold. From there came the injection of post-rock and shoegaze. The sound was vastly different to that we first heard on ‘Heart Ache’, but it was still as enjoyable. The new sound, it has to be said, has given Jesu’s fan base a much needed injection of life. A band like this deserves credit where credit is due.


‘Heart Ache’ is where it all began for Jesu, which will certainly be an odd fact for a lot of people to stomach. The differences between this and say the new ‘Lifeline’ material is almost unbelievable. As I said, the vocals weren’t as pivotal to Jesu as they have become. Justin’s vocals are unique. His voice is one that could be carried over no matter what music it was placed side by side with. His vocals could do the job on any form of music, whether that be this type of hypnotic drone, or the lesser familiar shoegaze sound. In ways, ‘Heart Ache’ can be typical of the drone sound. How? Well, it focuses it’s attentions solely on achieving atmosphere. This is done through down tuned guitars, which play at a slow pace. Rarely does the tempo alter in terms of the guitar work. It’s only the drums and keyboards which tend to speed the tempo up. They add a spice to the fray. Each section of instruments works incredibly well together, this must simply be put down to fantastic musicianship and song writing ability. Whether Jesu are portraying their emotive sound through zoned out keyboards, or blissful guitars, it’s always done perfectly.


The keyboards were as essential back then, when ‘Heart Ache’ was released, as they are now. They create a flowing sound which ebbs away in the minds of the audience. It swings back and forth. Creating a fusion of melody with the guitars perfectly. The way in which the instruments come together is undoubtedly the most pleasing aspect to most. However, to me, the vocals are still where all the emotion comes from. Justin’s vocals display a vast array of emotions. From despair, to sadness. From grief, to even a rather hopeful tone. His voice carries over very well. He has the ability to alter the mood of the listener with his voice in whichever way he chooses fit. The instruments have this ability too, however it’s not as clear as the vocals are when they do it. The keyboards are quintessential in gathering all the atmospheric qualities together and showcasing them as one divine sound. Whilst the title track really does melt my troubles away, one cannot resist the piano intro. It’s inclusion into the mix is perfect. Jesu remain a visionary band. One which creates a pioneering sound that brings both joy and sorrow to many, many people. Britain’s Jesu are perhaps one of the most important figures in the British scene, if not the world scene of ambient and metal music.