You more than likely don’t know of the Los Angeles four piece Young Jesus, but that’s understandable in today’s crowded music world. The easiest way to describe what they do is to call it art rock-but in so many ways, their music is much more than that simple moniker. Crazed directions and rhythm changes fall all over the music, at some times it sounds like a spiritual cleansing, at others it’s enigmatic joy from not having a direction. On their new album The Whole Thing Is Just There, they take the listener to a place they might not have been to before, art for art’s sake.
The album’s opener, “Deterritory” is pretty straightforward indie rock. The vocals are a bit off kilter of what you may expect, but other than that, it’s not taking the herd too far off the range. The song works in so many ways, deferring to an almost Archers of Loaf like pace before turning in a completely different direction and steering the ship towards the rocks. It’s arty as hell, but that’s where these guys lie and it works in so many ways.
This gets followed by the odd but intense notes of “Saganism vs. Buddhism,” where the band starts of like a folky derived psych rock band before throwing the instruments at a wall and adding scream fueled vocals that almost come to a complete halt. It’s like a math rock emo band making folk music in the headiest way possible. There’s a push an pull of this release.
While there are art filled moments, the band stays on track with songs like “Bell” and “For Nana,” where the craziness is not amped all the way up. There’s just something about how they approach songwriting, where the crazy never gets put in check, but it also always sounds appropriate. It’s at times crazy, it’s made for musicians, but there’s an audience for music like theirs if people just sit with it. In many ways, hearing something that sounds like a jazz band warming up is the best thing about this crowded music world we live in. Because when that occurs, every once in a while, you get to hear art for art’s sake.
You can stream The Whole Thing Is Just There when it gets released on Friday October 12. You can preorder the record from Bandcamp and directly from Saddle Creek Records as well. Young Jesus will be on tour starting October 18 at Lodge Room in Highland Park, California all the way until November 20 at Soda Bar in San Diego. A complete list of tour dates for the band can be found here.
Image Credits: Photo by Kelsey Hart.