JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES
With a debut album released in 2011 and an EP two years later, it seems Jess and the Ancient Ones have been in no major rush to write, record and present their second full-length offering to the world. But, here it is, under the name 'Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes'. Of course, these Finns haven't been lazily sat around procrastinating in any small way as five out of the band's six members (yes, JATAO are now scaled down from the original seven musicians) had been busy working on an offshoot band, The Exploding Eyes Orchestra, unleashing their debut record this summer, and another full-length work waiting in the wings, which should be out next spring. Thus, it could be said the musicians themselves have transpired to be fairly prolific with their output, even if not within the context of their primary band. So, what of the second coming for Jess and co.?
First, if you're familiar with JATAO's music, then you'll already be fully aware this is not sonic fodder that audiophiles will be consuming with any kind of excitement. Once again, they've opted for a full-on retro 60s/70s sounding production, but one that's apt for the aesthetic at the very heart of their compositions. Their blend of psychedelia, surf rock, and prog, coupled with Jess' soulful vocals, sounds like it's from a different era in every which way, but this is part of JATAO's aural charm. And the warm, analogue and organic vibe this conveys is, if you let yourself become immersed in its essence, quite a wondrous experience, and one that transports your spiritual self away from corporeal reality into a more cognitively enriching space. Music to become lost in, if you will... escapism, but simultaneously good for the mind. JATAO have crafted a level of integrity (or, rather, maintained integrity through their craft) in both composition and execution, so the passage into its affective crux is one of ease and captivation.
Despite JATAO's axiomatic retro inspiration, they've very much succeeded in preserving their own, self-styled idioms within any such influences. Sure, they've borrowed psychedelic motifs from music of yore, but appropriated these for their own compositionally astute means. This is very much a band who are off doing their own thing; an autonomous musical entity within a scene plagued by ephemeral trends and pastiched imitation. As such, there's also a kind of otherworldly timelessness to their music. I know that sounds like a direct contradiction of the bygone decades from which they heavily borrow, but that's the nature of the immersive experience their songs offer... which, for me, is the very essence of timeless music. As such, this is an album that'll be listened to with as much reverence and respect in decades to come, as it is now. That's my prediction, anyway.
However, it's all about the here and now and 'Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes' is another fine achievement for JATAO. Personally, 'I', The Exploding Eyes Orchestra's debut, edges it for me in terms of compositional quality and my own enjoyment, but JATAO's sophomore album is still another fine example of Thomas Corpse's songwriting skills. And with his songs brought to life in the most excitingly organic of ways by JATAO's talented musicians, including a closing track that clocks in at over 22 minutes (although feels much less... again, the music's absorbing nature at work there), this is another strong release for the band.
SECOND PSYCHEDELIC COMING: THE AQUARIUS TAPES
Review by Mark Holmes
4th December 2015
2) The Flying Man
3) In Levitating Secret Dreams
4) The Equinox Death Trip
5) Wolves Inside My Head
6) Crossroad Lightning
7) The Lovers
8) Goetia of Love
9) Goodbye to Virgin Grounds Forever
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"This is very much a band who are off doing their own thing; an autonomous musical entity within a scene plagued by ephemeral trends and pastiched imitation. As such, there's also a kind of otherworldly timelessness to their music."