Wednesday 4 November 2015

Review: Jess And the Ancient Ones – 'Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes'

'Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes'

Finland's Jess And The Ancient Ones have enjoyed an enviable level of success in recent years. From their NWOBHM influenced beginnings to their position at the forefront of a psychedelic rock revival they have over just the course of a handful of releases built up a strong following. The band's second full-length album, 'Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes', continues to see them expand on their own brand of occult themed psychedelic rock that incorporates genres such as surf, blues, folk, and jazz.

Based on the quality of the band's previous outings the expectations for this are understandably high, and early on it is evident that the band have set out to raise the bar and blow their previous releases out of the water. The band play a strong game from the off as the intensely addictive opener 'Samhain' kicks in with its brilliant guitar and vocal performances. Songs such as 'In Levitating Secret Dreams', 'Wolves Inside My Head', 'Crossroad Lightning', and 'Goetia Of Love' provide the album with a solid backbone of inspired riffs, delicious hooks and memorable melodies that flow effortlessly from one song to another to create an almost river-like torrent that propels the album.

The album's crowning glory though, has to be the near 22-minute long opus of 'Goodbye To Virgin Grounds Forever' with it's wonderful interplay of vocals, acoustic sections and luscious layering of instruments. It rounds off an album that has set it's sights as high as possible and as a result delivered a stunning album.

The production is excellent and keeps that balance between slick modern production and mixing with that warm analogue atmosphere that harks back to the psychedelic records of old. With the flow of the tracks as they are and the old school flavour to the production there is a sense that this is real album rather than just a collection of songs as you tend to get these days, and each individual track feels very much part of a greater musical whole.

This is the album that will put Jess And The Ancient Ones on the map and establish them as a major force in rock. 'Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes' builds on the strongest elements of the band's previous releases and opens up new doors for them to go through. It is an album that feels complete and classic already and will surely only continue to improve with age.

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