Preachers from post-modern gothic soul conjurors My Jerusalem, is an exceptional and impacting delight which at times feels like the perfect soundtrack to a union of TV shows Carnivàle and American Gothic with its smouldering shadows and menacing breath. It is a release which haunts emotions and thoughts whilst evoking images and feelings wrapped in drapes of dark and inspiring suggestive ingenuity. It is a delicious piece of imagination and enterprise which goes far beyond the ear as its provocative warmth kisses every pore like a passion driven flickering candle.
Preachers is described on its accompanying promo sheet as ‘the first My Jerusalem album genuinely made by a band, not just performed by a group of musicians.’ This suggests that their second album felt a more instinctive and natural creation than its predecessor, the critically acclaimed debut Gone For Good of 2010, for the band. It certainly has the presence of something organically spawn, a creation brought from a union of imagination and passion rather than a mere collection of ideas. It flows over the senses and thoughts like a smouldering seductive breath equipped with tension brewing surges and blackened enrapturing elegance. Formed by vocalist Jeff Klein (ex-Gutter Twins, The Twilight Singers), the Austin, Texas band recorded the record with Spoon drummer Jim Eno at his Public Hi-Fi studio, and achieved according to guitarist/keyboardist Jon Merza sound and release which is “more representative of what our live shows sound like.”
As keys open up the title track to start off the escapade into enthrallment, there is an immediate chilled caress which puts ones attention on alert. Swiftly following harmonies and an enticing bass beckoning herald the outstanding expressive baritone vocals of Klein within the thick atmosphere enveloping, its shimmering charm laying a lush canvas for the song to ignite melodic fires and emotive sparks upon to enhance rather than ward off the closely watching shadows. It is a hauntingly mesmeric start which has a beauty and reassuring clasp as potent as the oppressive menace of its theme.
Things just explore and expand to greater heights then on in across the album, with firstly the wonderful Shatter Together. The song is the perfect dark pop song, its crawling bass murmurs and golden shards of melodic infection a delicious adventure which invigorates whilst opening up the elegance of dark painful love. It is quite glorious and sets up the passions for the following senses scorching stroll of Born in The Belly. The Southern burn to the angst soaked plaintive fire of Klein transports one into a squall of emotive intensity erupting at the heart of the song. It is another stunning slice of dramatic imagination with once more the bass of Geena Spigarelli a compulsive lure alongside the strong cage of rhythms built by drummer Grant Van Amburgh, but it is the vocals and titanic play from Merza and multi-instrumentalist Michael St. Clair which reap the fullest furnace of pleasure for their efforts.
The thrilling engagement continues at the established hypnotic great height through the likes of This Time, a track which plays like Johnny Cash meets Kings Of Leon through a majestic dusty western haze, and the persistent Death Valley, its dark rampancy of rhythms and consuming shadows igniting a Max Payne like imagery and presence. It is an urgent rolling insistence which frames expansive and inciting melodic invocations to leave one basking in sheer insurgent beauty.
The latter part of Preachers unveils songs which gently wrap themselves around the heart, the likes of Devoe, Between Space, and Chameleon glancing rich heart borne caresses across thoughts and emotions for rewards as equally irresistible as the more urgently driven encounters. Amongst them though there is the stirring rocker Oh Little Sister, a track which just romps with excitement inspired by the teasing bass lines, heart bursting horns, and the sensational acidic discord soaked guitar. It is a brilliant final thrust of dynamic energy before the stunning closer, I Left My Conscience In You. The song coaxes with subdued and subtle tendrils of warm creativity with the expressive breath of vocal and acoustic guitar gently aided by keys and bass. As it progresses though there is a slowly building ambience and increasing bristling of sounds which eventually erupts into a riot of passion and energy for a fiery and climactic crescendo to leave one breathless.
Released via The End Records, Preachers is simply sensational, easily one of the emotive and musical highlights of the year made from the colossal combination of shadows and imagination of My Jerusalem, and a release which just gets better and more powerful with each and every listen
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