After their deeply impressive album This Treason of 2010, Canadian horror rock band The New Jacobin Club return with a 15-year anniversary release in the shape of the Left Behind EP. It features four of their songs from the nineties which they have re-recorded and re-orchestrated for this special project. Released in May and coinciding with a tour around Western Canada, the EP might also just give us an insight into the next album from the band, tentatively titled The Mark. In a recent interview frontman/songwriter The Horde explained how the new EP sort of came about by the band looking at the effectiveness of older material after some of the songs from their last album proved difficult to play live. How that will translate to new material only time will reveal but from the great reworking from the current septet of songs written and performed back when the band was a quartet at most on Left Behind, the prospect is exciting.
The EP starts with My Smile, one of two songs that though regulars of The New Jacobin Club live set in 1996 never had an official studio treatment or public release. Hearing the quality of the songs with When Evil Comes Out To Play being the other track, it is surprising this is their first appearance outside of those first live shows. Obviously the band has updated them with their full and immense sound but the core of a song never truly changes and My Smile especially is an easy equal to the recent material of the band. The song is a short energetic slice of horror veined rock with a compulsive punk vein throbbing within bringing a Danzig like tone to the infectious and energised heart of the song. It is track that feeds the senses wonderfully, its body uncluttered and undemanding as it romps with a breath that is vibrant and refreshing. The electric cello of Luminous gives eager warmth to the song as it gallops across the ear with the theremin conjurations of Poison Candy searching and lighting deepest corners. The band may be looking at removing the complexities of future music a little but as this song proves they still intrigue and ignite the senses with thoughtful and fine craft.
Demon Princess comes next, a song like the closing live cut on the EP that made its first arrival on the self titled album from the band. The track masses around the ear with a weave of expansive synths from Brother Vitruvius and the melodic guitars of The Horde and The Fury, the combination instigating a slow and assured consumption of the senses. The track offers a menace fuelled by the bass of Swarm and the combative drums of The Rat King that pervades the atmosphere of the song like a creeping evil and is seemingly reluctant to leave as the song draws to a close.
The early Misfits/Danzig like When Evil Comes Out To Play stomps into view with a confidence borne of secure wicked intent, an air that swaggers and taunts with a dark mischief. The track canters with an infectious groove that is impossible to avoid falling in league with and by its final departing note voice and limbs are eager bedfellows to the music before them.
Closing on the excellent live cut of Blood Of The Servant Girl, a track that will easily convince you to go check the band out if they ever pull up their blackened carriages to a town near you near you, Left Behind is a great addition to the already formidable catalogue of The New Jacobin Club and the perfect introduction for newcomers to the band. As a celebration of 15 years it could not be a finer release and as a teaser for future sounds it is a mischievous instigator of impatient anticipation.
Left Behind is released May 22nd digitally as a pay what you want download and as an exclusive CD with record-style packaging.