Jesu - Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came | Review

Justin Broadrick has released an abundance of fascinating music over his long career. From his earliest days with Napalm Death and Godflesh, through to Jesu and a raft of other projects and productions, he's been hugely influential in reshaping the boundaries of underground music. That said, with so many different artistic personas, some of Broadrick's releases have felt like preliminary drafts, and in the case of Jesu, that's meant predictable techniques have led to some formulaic releases.

Broadrick will tell you the same. In a recent interview with website Metal Sucks he noted that he wished he could have gone a lot further with Jesu's past few releases. However, with the revival of Godflesh – the yin to Jesu's yang – Broadrick has been able to concentrate on exactly what Jesu stands for on its latest release, Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came.

The album has benefited enormously from Broadrick's refocus. It contains an exquisite balance of woozy shoegaze and bright bursts of expansive post-rock. It reaches back to Jesu's earliest years, touches on many elements explored since, and still finds room to sound fresh. Broadrick's handling of dynamics and textures is the key here, and he deftly combines the expected while still pushing forward creatively.

Opener "Homesick" sees distortion and delicacy meet, and "Comforter" and "Grey Is the Colour" mix waves of reverb, crushing instrumentation, and skewed electronica with sombre passages of reflection. Of course, none of those elements are new, but what makes Everyday I Get Closer... such a sublime release is that it's a sincere reflection of Broadrick's current state of mind.

He isn't banging his head against the walls of Birmingham squats anymore, he's a 44 year old living in South Wales, and he became a father around the time of the album's creation. As the title of the album's 17-minute centerpiece "The Great Leveller" suggests, that's brought some understandable changes to Broadrick's artistic vision.

The song is not only one of Jesu's greatest ever, but it's a gorgeous reflection of that change. My Bloody Valentine by way of Neurosis churns collide on "The Great Leveller". Marital percussion arises, symphonic strings sweep in, and it all ends on lullaby piano. The track cuts density with ambience, and heaviness with etherealness, but most of all, it broadens Jesu's sonic range while holding fast to a core sense of intimacy. "The Great Leveller" underscores exactly why Everyday I Get Closer... is such an affecting album overall. It perfectly captures the feel of an artist moving forward in life, and the album as a whole maintains that personal honesty throughout.

In a world drowning in greed, lies, and selfishness, immersing yourself in the heartfelt and consoling tides of Everyday I Get Closer... is the ideal elixir. Kudos to Broadrick for providing us with such.

Craig Hayes

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Craig Hayes is music writer based in Aotearoa New Zealand. He is a contributing editor, reviewer, and writes a monthly metal column at North American site PopMatters. He contributes loud words elsewhere around the web, on sites such as Metal Bandcamp and Backlit, and at home in NZ, he is a freelance writer and radio producer. Craig favours sounds from the metal, experimental and noise scenes, and has a crippling love of Krautrock, vintage progressive rock, and proto-metal too. You can find Craig losing followers daily on twitter @sixnoises