Jesu - Never (EP)
Mute Records
Ambient Shoegaze, Electronica
5 songs (30:45)
Release year: 2020
Bandcamp, Mute Records
Reviewed by Goat

It has been a long seven years since Every Day I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came, a suitably final-sounding farewell from Justin K Broadrick's shoegaze/doom/drone/ambient project Jesu that many loved for a particular release but few loved in its entirety. The project has softened considerably since its drone-doom beginnings, with recent releases from Jesu being little-heralded collaborations with folk project Sun Kil Moon, so you'd be forgiven for having allowed your interest to wane. Still, news of a new EP and subsequent album later this year from the reinvigorated Jesu was certainly a pleasant surprise, particularly for those of us who enjoyed the likes of 2011's Ascension and the aforementioned Every Day... And true to form, this is far from business as usual. It heralds a renewed interest in electronic experimentation for Broadrick, moving from icy synths to downright danceable techno beats, all layered beneath the usual distorted guitars and vocals. Clearly still of the shoegaze genre, and just as obviously deserving of the Jesu name, this is a far cry from what some might assume is sub-Nine Inch Nails electro-rock, but instead a compelling and listenable addition to the Jesu catalogue.

Which is your favourite piece present will entirely depend on your tastes, of course. Opener Because of You is far from typical Jesu, full of distorted vocals and slow, pulsating beats, dreamy and unclear, building gradually with very distorted guitar noise (don't expect riffs!) and smothered drum machine. Broadrick's vocals act as something of a guide when they emerge, clearer at the song's end if still blurred into the backing ghosts, and the project's typical melancholia is plain. It's a strangely hypnotic piece, and contrasts well with the following Never There For You, a far catchier and more techno-focused piece built around looped vocal sampling. Needless to say, none of us at are dance music experts but it's possibly one of the better examples of that genre that you'll have heard lately, helped by the bursts of distortion at the edges and generally dense sound. It's more upbeat than the project usually manages, hopeful and yearning, and Broadrick's vocals and the limited piano that join later improve it even more.

Perhaps just an experiment, but it is an area that Jesu could explore further. The following Never... returns to more usual territory with its ambient backing and bleary vocals, quite close to film soundtrack territory but still interesting and listenable if less hypnotic overall. And although Suffocator feels the most like Jesu's established sound here, it's also the most by numbers and straightforward and suffers accordingly. The weakest piece present, however, is definitely Never There For You (Original Vision), a more straightforward remix/version of the earlier track with slightly clunkier techno beats and a lack of JKB. It does close the EP off well, however, a mixed but all in all solid set of experiments from Broadrick that promise great things for the forthcoming Terminus in November!

Killing Songs :
Because of You, Never There For You
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Jesu that we have reviewed:
Jesu - Every Day I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Jesu - Ascension reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Jesu - Opiate Sun reviewed by James and quoted no quote
Jesu - Infinity reviewed by James and quoted 52 / 100
Jesu - Silver (EP) reviewed by Adam and quoted no quote
To see all 8 reviews click here
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