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Jess And The Ancient Ones - Vertigo review




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Band: Jess And The Ancient Ones
Album: Vertigo
Release date: May 2021


01. Burning Of The Velvet Fires
02. World Paranormal
03. Talking Board
04. Love Zombi
05. Summer Tripping Man
06. What's On Your Mind
07. Born To Kill
08. Strange Earth Illusion


I don't mind retro pastiche that much, but I really enjoy it when artists can nail rehashing an old sound but doing it in a pretty unique way. It's hard to think of anyone doing this 70s melting pot better than Jess And The Ancient Ones.

I have some slight reticence in calling this the best Jess And The Ancient Ones album. Firstly, I haven't listened to their other albums enough times. Secondly, it always feel like debut albums and generally earlier albums get more of a pass at rehashing sounds, so even if songwriting gets better later on, earlier albums are still more fondly looked upon. And thirdly, it would feel like I am intentionally hyping up a band's latest release because it is the latest release and I had more opportunities to give it re-listens and pay attention to it. So, you know, take what I say with a grain of salt. But I enjoyed this immensely, more than I remember enjoying their previous material or most other 70s retro bands.

I reviewed the solo album of the singer, the one under the Jess By The Lake name, which was a lot less occult psychedelic and more soulful than the material of the main band, so I was curious to see how would coming back to this sound be like. I have to things that blew me away most of all. I have forgotten just how awesome Jess' soulful vocals were, and I don't think there will be any album ever that features her vocals which won't have them blow me away. Now, of course, there are a lot of great singers out there, but the way her vocals perfectly complement the retro sound of the record just makes it so fun to listen to. And then, while all the instrumental performances are great in their own right, it was the keyboard playing that jammed the hardest.

Occult psychedelic rock doesn't really feel like enough to describe their sound, especially with how oversaturated that genre had became in the past decade. I already mentioned the soul influences that come mostly through on the vocal side, but there are touches of progressive rock, art rock and even something that would fit some Italian giallo movie soundtrack. This is 70s music by people who actually listened to more than meets the decade's surface. This is more Eloy and Goblin and Van Der Graaf Generator rather than just Yes and Rush and Pink Floyd. And all of it is a melting pot that builds upon the strengths of all the sounds rehashed here, and the result sounds like something that no other band could have done as effectively.

And in the end, I just wish the cover art actually had anything in common with how vibrant this feels like.






Written on 10.06.2021 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 94 users
10.06.2021 - 13:14
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I like many cases first albums, because they are best before experimental starts, but many cases good studio sound is problem.
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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10.06.2021 - 18:48
Ivor
Staff
When I first listened to this album, I didn't like it. Was disappointed even. ... it's been spinning ever since. Like it far more than a couple before. The first one's still the favourite.

I.
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No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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11.06.2021 - 14:13
Nejde
Green Devil
"I have forgotten just how awesome Jess' soulful vocals were, and I don't think there will be any album ever that features her vocals which won't have them blow me away."

I haven't forgotten since I listen to them regularly but I totally agree. Her voice is magnificent and it suits this kind of music perfectly. As much as I enjoy this album nothing they release will ever top the first album and Prayer For Death And Fire will always be their best song. One of the best album openers, all categories imo. And yes, that album cover is horrible and doesn't reflect the music at all.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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12.06.2021 - 09:43
Maldone

Yes, the first album is still their best, but this one is close second. They indeed are at the very top of that 70's revival (the only other band anywhere near to them in quality was The Devil's Blood), but I don't think it's completely accurate to call them 70s retro band. Everybody seem to overlook strong influences of 60's psychodellia which are especially prevalent on this album.
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12.06.2021 - 09:52
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Maldone on 12.06.2021 at 09:43

Everybody seem to overlook strong influences of 60's psychodellia which are especially prevalent on this album.

Yeah, that is also a big part of theor sound, along with psychedelic soul also from around the same time.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


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12.06.2021 - 11:39
Maldone

Written by RaduP on 12.06.2021 at 09:52

Written by Maldone on 12.06.2021 at 09:43

Everybody seem to overlook strong influences of 60's psychodellia which are especially prevalent on this album.

Yeah, that is also a big part of theor sound, along with psychedelic soul also from around the same time.

That's absolutely true. Just listened to it again and this time I really noticed how much soul they incorporated in the sound of this album. It may be the most 60's sounding of all theirs. Also I agree with everything you said about Jess' vocals.
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12.06.2021 - 11:49
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Maldone on 12.06.2021 at 11:39

That's absolutely true. Just listened to it again and this time I really noticed how much soul they incorporated in the sound of this album. It may be the most 60's sounding of all theirs. Also I agree with everything you said about Jess' vocals.

Might also be due to Jess' solo album, which was even more soul focused. Some of it might have seeped in.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


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