Jesu | Why Are We Not Perfect (Hydra Head)

cd_jesu.jpgElectronic drum beats click and fuzz with a sort of retro aesthetic which is neither charming nor interesting.







The latest offering from Jesu, Why Are We Not Perfect, mostly consists of their trademark droning ambience, but is splintered by a few catchy, melodic moments. The last two tracks are alternate versions of previous songs, giving the 30-minute EP the curious quality of feeling too long, with each song sounding like more of the same.

Electronic drum beats click and fuzz with a sort of retro aesthetic which is neither charming nor interesting as they predictably roll forward over waves of reverbed guitar and hushed vocals. The disc ambivalently meanders between thoughtful ambience (a lá Brian Eno) and electronic metal, and doesn’t ever do much besides indecisively borrowing from the two genres. No risks are taken here, no striking comparisons are made; the material just sits there complacently as a sum of its parts, dimpled by a few exciting, yet ultimately disappointing moments.

The one sparkle in this swampwater is the second track, "Blind and Faithless," which drives a succinct, jazzy rhythm over varied instrumentation. The EP’s only upbeat song is also its shortest, and most accessible. In a captivating moment, the strings and percussion deftly pause just before the last chorus, subsiding to near-silence before they explode into the song’s final movement. This breathtaking control, punctuating silky instrumentation with bombastic percussion, is reminiscent of the group’s earlier work, and marks Jesu at their best. Sadly there just isn’t enough of that to rescue this EP from its faltering haze. All in all, Why Are We Not Perfect is a somewhat routine outing, and is probably only worthwhile for diehard fans. C | Glen Elkins

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