I can’t say I went into this album with much faith considering both Infinity and Ascension, Jesu‘s previous two albums, seemed so lopsided and emotionally detached. But fear not, Justin Broadrick, seems to have found his voice again. It might not be all that striking or eventful, but it perfectly encapsulates every musical avenue his Jesu project has travelled in a subtle and concise package that delivers an interesting and touching listen and makes the mouthful, Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came, one of his strongest releases yet.
This is without a doubt the most dreamlike and surreal music Justin has ever brought to the table, and it’s also likely the most sedate and plodding; but certainly not out of laziness or stagnation since there’s a lot of intricacy here. On the surface the music is deceivingly straightforward — simple down-tuned major-key riffs with basic drum beats and ethereal vocals in the backdrop set the scene, but the layering holds a lot of the complexity. It’s the best of both worlds, yielding not only an interesting listen, but one that’s instantly accessible on an emotional level, which is exactly what Jesu has always been about.
Instrumentally, the album doesn’t really set out to impress. Justin’s use of a drum machine is obvious, but considering he’s been using one for the last 20 years and has been managing to make some of the most iconic music metal has to offer, he’s certainly one of the few that really knows how to use it effectively. In fact, it really bolsters the feeling of a dreamy, artificial tone that this album all but embraces. The guitars’ deep chords are soft yet broad and iconic in a very pleasing way to anyone that has ever heard and enjoyed a Jesu release, and many of the melodies possess a music-box effect with the strange bending of the notes that adds a very hypnagogic feel to the tranquil and nostalgic feel the album illustrates so well.
Each of the tracks deliver individually deliver too. Though “Homesick” is perhaps the most poppy and uncomplicated Jesu has ever been, but with a catchy and captivating main riff, it’s a most fitting start to what Justin claims is the most representative Jesu record. The vocal layering in “Comforter,” which clearly takes influence from the most surreal Sigur Rós tracks is really pleasing and makes for a great contrast from the simplistic approach of the previous track. “Everyday” is a perfect mix of the two — the lovely pitch-bended lead melody above the warm and inviting synths really creates a beautiful soundscape to get lost in.
‘The Great Leveller” warrants more in-depth analysis as it’s vastly longer and more ambitious than anything else here. At 18 minutes and featuring the symphonic work of Nicola Manzan, it really is quite a large pill to swallow. But even then, it feels so brief for what it is, those 18 minutes feeling more like half that [Nine minutes is still a fooking long song, dude!! — Steel “Clockwatcher” Druhm]. The soft, warm symphonics flowing through each section of the piece are well done, if perhaps a touch inoffensive. The auto-tuned vocals, which would be a big deal breaker for some, is done tastefully and adds an interesting dynamic to the music. This mammoth tune is then perfectly complimented by the closer, “Grey is the Colour,” which if nothing else, increases your desire to play the album again.
At 40 minutes, this is the shortest Jesu album to date, and all the better for it. The best Jesu releases are his EP’s and this album serves as the perfect bridge between his arguably overlong LP’s and the EP’s that are a tad too short. In terms of balance Justin really nailed this album — there isn’t a track that goes beyond the realm of patience and you don’t leave thinking you’ve been robbed or shortchanged. Ultimately, this is an album you can repeat over and over and feel enriched every time for having heard it.
Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came is a sedate yet emotional journey that I’m glad I embarked upon. Some may argue it’s rather uneventful and not that heavy, but anything harder would detract from what this album is and the mood it conveys so well. It’s one of the most well-rounded and fully realized Jesu records, it’s definitely stronger than Infinity or Ascension and well worth the listen of any fan of shoegaze or similarly melodic, melancholic music.