Jesu, Ascension

Phil Freeman

By Phil Freeman

on 05.06.11 in Reviews
The most human Jesu record by a good distance

It's been a long journey from Godflesh to Jesu, as Justin Broadrick's music gradually morphed from noisy industrial metal to depressive shoegaze records that recall Ride and Darklands-era Jesus and Mary Chain. Ascension, the second Jesu release for Caldo Verde — an indie label run by Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon — is downright gentle. There are more acoustic tracks, vocals are crooned rather than roared, synths hum and sing behind fuzzy, dreamlike chords, and songs seem to drift off into the ether rather than end conclusively. The album-closing title track is an instrumental, built on a riff (and guitar pedal) strongly indebted to Jane's Addiction's "Classic Girl." Acoustic guitars dominate ("Fools," "Small Wonder," "King of Kings"), and the drumming is produced in a surprisingly boxy way — more like '70s rock than the jackhammer machine found on such seminal Godflesh releases as Streetcleaner and Pure. Indeed, with its audible room sound and slow exhalations of breath, Ascension is the most human Jesu record by a good distance.