Tuesday, April 16, 2024

My Jerusalem ‘Preachers’ Album Review

“Preachers” is the second full-length release from ‘My Jerusalem’ –  the gothic-soul outfit from Austin, Texas.

Recorded in under three weeks by Spoon drummer Jim Eno (Heartless Bastards, Polica, Black Joe Lewis) this is the follow-up to My Jerusalem’s 2010 critically acclaimed debut, ‘Gone For Good’.

Described by My Jerusalem founder and singer Jeff Klein as “ a beautiful, comforting darkness … “ The album consists of eleven short stories set to music.

The title track ‘Preachers’ introduces us to a cluster of icy piano notes that linger in the coldest of vapours. Klein’s voice is deep and grasping. The ponderous rhythms sprout into something almost mildewy, while the cloying melody creeps insidiously into your core, poisoning your marrow.

‘Shatter Together’ is a lighter, burnished affair. With higher vocals and fragments of keyboard notes that tend to litter the deck. While a sinewy melody rises guiltily against a dark cloud created by those velvety black bass notes.

‘Born in The Belly ‘ shatters the gloom. This rock is urgent. The voice wails in earnest. And the accompaniment grinds down any defence you might put up. This song grips you and does not let go  Not until your nerves are twisted and frayed. Afterwards, the crooning  ‘Mono’ tempts you in, with its intriguing lyrical content and an uncomfortable warmth.

‘This Time’ feels slightly archaic. A sepia flavored rock ‘n’ roll piece from a different space and time. But then the efflorescing drums of ‘Death Valley’  materialize into being, and you begin to feel that you are falling backwards into a yawning mouth of despair. The agonized vocals illuminate the song with an eerie light and some thought provoking lyrics and the track finally dissolves into a stinking mire of disillusionment.

‘Between Space’ limps painfully along. A rumbling piano connects the ruinous tones and the faltering percussion. The lingering presence of those anguished vocals never allow you to feel totally at ease, until the sumptuous guitars overrun the place. It is then that your allegiance is rewarded.

‘Chameleon’ is bass heavy and a darkly handsome piece. This is followed by ‘I Left My Conscience in You’. With the acoustic beginnings, the song is subtly transformed into something much grander, with the deft introduction of flickering guitars. The doleful voice sounds almost relaxing at times as it lazily meanders along.  But after a gaping moment of inconsolable self-pity, Klein’s voice reaches an agonized crisis. Then the bleating guitars and urgent rhythms cause havoc, leaving the listener distraught and spent in the wreckage.

Altogether,  “Preachers” is held together by the impeccable rhythmic backbone of bass and drums. The transcendent voice of Jeff Klein brings a sense of darkly textured luxury to the creation, producing an album that is technically proficient and totally uplifting.  It requires repeated listening.

Neil Mach
Neil Mach
RAMzine Senior Writer - With a career spanning 30 years author / journalist Neil Mach is an expert on the music business and is a reliable guide. He especially loves heavy metal, prog & blues.

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