February 14, 2007

Review: Jesu | Conqueror

Jesu -- ConquerorConqueror, the amazingly prolific Justin Broadrick's latest set under the moniker Jesu, is a headphones record. Not because it is stacked with sonic trickery, but because the songs convey a sense of narcotic, dreary solitude. So go ahead, put it on and stare out the window all morning. Conqueror's eight tracks are filled with loudly understated and wintry mecha-sludge regularly appointed with high keys and pensive, airy vocals. Album highlight (and closer) "Stanlow" comes across as a stripped-down and gestural demo version of The Cure's soaring "Plainsong" [aside: given the direction of the most recent, nu-metalized Cure record, and the fact that The Cure has two more records on its contract with producer Ross Robinson's I Am label, Robert Smith could do a lot worse than getting Broadrick involved on the production end -- come on Bob, make it happen]. Broadrick, born in Birmingham, England -- seriously, what is it with Birmingham this week? -- is perhaps best know as the guy behind Godflesh, and he has played in other acts including Napalm Death.

But back to Conqueror. While it is filled with grand music, its sometimes lifeless rhythm tracks can be rigid, which gives parts of the record a formulaic feel. Thankfully, the formula works. The set streets Feb. 20 on Hydra Head. Jesu, whose lineup includes drummer Ted Parsons and bassist Diarmuid Dalton, will support the release with extensive touring in the U.S. The jaunt will be Broadrick's first to the states since touring here under his Techno Animal guise six years ago. We've posted the dates at the bottom of this item. And, incidentally, we love that this record isn't even out yet (well, in the States at least) and a guy (our apologies, YouTube guy, who is not teen-aged at all -- cherish your youthful looks!) has already posted clips of himself playing along to the title track at YouTube -- check it out [clip] [clip]. And here's an MP3 courtesy of the cool kids over at Insound.com:

Jesu -- "Old Year" -- Conqueror
[just click]

Stream the entire record here.
Download the title track at Jesu's MySpace outhouse here.
Pre-order Conqueror here.
We reviewed Jesu's Silver EP here last year.

Jesu: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

02/20 -- Spaceland -- Los Angeles, CA
02/22 -- Casbah -- San Diego, CA
02/23 -- The Clubhouse -- Tempe, AZ
02/24 -- Launchpad -- Albuquerque, NM
02/26 -- Conservatory -- Oklahoma City, OK
02/27 -- Ridglea Theater -- Fort Worth, TX
02/28 -- Emo’s Alternative Lounging -- Austin, TX
03/01 -- Numbers -- Houston, TX
03/02 -- Spanish Moon -- Baton Rouge, LA
03/03 -- Bottletree Lounge -- Birmingham, AL
03/05 -- The Social -- Orlando, FL
03/08 -- 40 Watt Club -- Athens, GA
03/09 -- Tremont Music Hall -- Charlotte, NC
03/10 -- Alley Katz -- Richmond, VA
03/11 -- 930 Club -- Washington, DC
03/13 -- Theatre of Living Arts -- Philadelphia, PA
03/14 -- Irving Plaza -- New York, NY
03/15 -- Emos -- Austin, TX
03/16 -- SXSW -- Austin, TX
03/17 -- The Middle East -- Cambridge, MA
03/18 -- Theatre National -- Montreal QC
03/19 -- Barrymore’s -- Ottawa, ON
03/20 -- Opera House -- Toronto, ON
03/21 -- St Andrews Hall -- Detroit, MI
03/22 -- Metro -- Chicago, IL
03/25 -- Triple Rock Social Club -- Minneapolis, MN
03/26 -- The Picador -- Iowa City, IA
03/27 -- Granada Theatre -- Lawrence, KS
03/28 -- Marquis Theater -- Denver, CO
03/30 -- In The Venue -- Salt Lake City, UT
04/01 -- The Big Easy -- Boise, ID
04/02 -- The Big Easy -- Spokane, WA
04/03 -- Neumo’s Crystal Ball Reading Room -- Seattle, WA
04/04 -- Hawthorne Theatre -- Portland, OR
04/06 -- Bimbo’s 365 Club -- San Francisco, CA
04/08 -- Henry Fonda Theatre -- Los Angeles, CA

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