Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jess & the Ancient Ones :" Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes"

Wasn't really blown away by this band when they opened for King Diamond last year. It's too bad this one is not coming out until December as the opening song is good for this time of year as it's titled "Samhain" and it rocks a little harder than what I remember coming from this band live. The Grace Slick worship is not as over wrought here and she has more of her own thing going on. The chorus is strong and they are impressing me much more right out of the gate. The second song finds the band with a more garage rock production and the psychedelics pushed to the back ground. Not to say it doesn't take on  an almost Jethro Tull groove. The song gets as stomp to it , but I am not sure either song is metal up to this point and they are not as dark as the Devils Blood, nor do they rock as hard.

The momentum slows but not the tempo on " In Levitating Secret Dreams" . It is just not as tightly written.Its just more cluttered with the vocals wailing , but not as hooky.  There is more of a classic rock feel to the wah heavy blues slathered guitar on " the Equinox Death Trip" that finds the band more or less back on track. "the Wolves Inside My Head". opens up with a Charles Manson sample. They song is up beat freak out boogie. There are tinges of surf rock in the guitar.  The theme of this album seems to be drugs, which is always fun subject matter. They back off for a darker touch of psychedelics on " Crossroad Lightning". But while they capture some interesting sounds, the song doesn't feel like it is as focused as some of the others. At least until the midway point, then things begin to come together. They jam the last three minutes out.

For these guys to be a so called occult rock group the occult is toned down until the tarot references on " the Lovers" . Up tempo and unfocused. It races along but where to ? The song is only three minutes so the don't have to cover much ground. "Goetia of Love" is an odd title since goetic magick is primarily the invocation of demons, I suppose you could invoke angels, but they are pretty asexual. There is a Concrete Blonde vibe to this song mixed with a little Doors. They  close out the album with the ambitious 22 minute "Goodbye Virgin Grounds Forever". It simmers to life with a very slinky blues swagger. Then the flute breaks things down into a more proggy free form jazz thing and congeals back into a bluesy verse. It weaves from an almost Greatful Dead jazz-space jam to a Diamanda Galas like spoken word section to more of a Big Brother and the Holding Company like shuffle. If goes more transcendental with a chanted chorus that spins around the song's title. I'll round this up to an 8 it might grow on me further, if you are a fan of the band this is a step into a more ambitious place for them.

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