Jess And The Ancient Ones – 'The Horse And Other Weird Tales' Album Review
1. Death Is The Doors
3. Your Exploding Heads
4. You And Eyes
5. Radio Aquarius
6. Return To Hallucinate
7. (Here Comes) The Rainbow Mouth
9. Anyway The Minds Flow
The third album from the Finnish Psychedelic Rock band, Jess And The Ancient Ones, sees them, ‘Take a magical mystery trip to the dark side of the sixties as seen through the eyes of modern-day Occult Rock musicians’. The band went for an authentic 60’s sound, producing an album that could have come out of the Age of Aquarius, although this has more of an Altamount vibe than Woodstock. The mixing of the album gives it a real live feel, which is multi layered and has a real ebb and flow.
The album is relatively short at 31 minutes with 9 tracks. This is even though 2 of the tracks are epics, one just over 7 minutes long and the other at just under 8 minutes long!
The album opens with ‘Death Is The Doors’ with the guitar and organ duelling together in a multi layered and tempo dance, then we are introduced to Jess’ powerful vocal skills. ‘Shining’ carries on where the first track left off, then ‘Your Exploding Heads’ kicks in. Whilst not the best track on the album, it is the one you will being singing the next day due to the catchy chorus with nice bassy backing singing, which is almost a chant.
Then we have the first epic in ‘You And Eyes’ which is a clever use of words. From a soulful start this builds in tempo and in layers until it slows down at the halfway mark with the soulful voice of Jess, which is sublime. This is a complex track which ends as it began with a soulful lyric. This is very trippy and after the morbid death laden subject matter of the previous tracks, makes you wonder where the album is going.
‘Radio Aquarius’ is a sub 2 minute voice clip with a scientific interview about Lysergic acid. This is overlayed with a mellow instrumental which includes Jess’ voice supporting the melody.
‘Return To Hallcinate’ picks up the tempo after a starting voice clip again about the effects of the mind bending drug. The sub text of the song is escaping from real life and one feels that ‘(Here Comes) The Rainbow Mouth’ is the resulting trip.
‘Minotaure’ is the closest thing to a commercial psychedelic song that you will find on the album and like the aforementioned ‘Your Exploding Heads’ it leads into the epic closing track with its reference to ‘The Catcher In The Rye’. You can lose yourself in this complex track with echo on the drums and harpsichord. The end of the album takes a macabre twist as you realise that the voice over in this track is taken from an interview with Mark Chapman where he describes the shooting of John Lennon.
This album will not be to everyone’s taste. The live mixing will make it seem unpolished, but that is the aim. The musicianship is very good, the tracks are complex and layered and Jess’ vocals are brilliant.
This is not an album that you listen to in the car, or put on as background music. To do this justice you have to put your cans on, turn down the lights and get totally immersed in it.
The Horse and Other Weird Tales is out on Svart Records on December 1st.
Bandcamp - https://jessandtheancientones.bandcamp.com
Review - Tony Creek