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Young Jesus Comes Back After All The new LP from Young Jesus, you can call it a comeback

Young Jesus Comes Back After All

The new LP from Young Jesus, you can call it a comeback

by Ancient Champion, Columnist
first published: June, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

For a student of permaculture, Young Jesus unsurprisingly pays a lot of attention to the permanent impermanence of everything

The Fool coverYOUNG JESUS
The Fool
(Saddle Creek)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite

Once Young Jesus gets the ball out from under his feet… He piledrives an almost entirely carefree melody into the old onion sack. That, appropriately enough, comes together so sonorously, where piano and drums are given new reasons to be, on the very, very marvellous ‘MOTY’.

“The sweetest actor,
beats his wife behind closed doors.
And the great innovators
Are boys just frozen at the core…”
MOTY

Young Jesus, The Man of the Year? You’ll have to wait on Time. 

Meanwhile it’s not just you and I who should be discussing The Fool, the most exceptional Young Jesus record so far. Although we are. Every lyric is staggering about staggering. Let’s consider shame. It’s so resonant. Placing you at the point of change between a love and life itself. I found myself sitting in my mother in law’s flat this morning, waiting on a contractor, wondering whether or not she’ll ever make it back home. And surrounded by her, by her memories, wondering how that was anyway, her photos, her art made for her, her surviving the loss of her husband, the father of her daughter. What to hold on to now? There’s a lot to think about. About whether anything we did was any good after all or are we as bad as we are told we are?

Even the other apparently poppyin’ elements of this giant record, like the opener, ‘Brenda and Diane’ are sleights- of-hand, wide open road fun, threaded with discord. 

And they stumbled a bit
And asked me to sit

I laughed and said “Fine”
Diane said “Shut the fuck up
You think you’re being so kind
To a couple old ladies
Who ain't worth your time”
Brenda and Diane

Young Jesus' last LP, 2022s ‘Shepherd Head’,  brought a close and was followed by a lateral move into landscapes, gardens and the study of permaculture. Too long had been spent in front of his computer making that record and he just stopped, quitting music altogether. It took an unsolicited inquiry about a favourite legendary drummer friend to draw him back in. Back into a musical conversation. That’s a great story in itself that you can read here→. It begins with a conversation, it ends up drawing a card from the tarot deck, The Fool.

“Two brothers
wake up in the night to help dad use the bathroom
to help him try to fall asleep
when he used to be their shelter…” 
Two Brothers

I’m strongly connecting this record, The Fool, in this moment, with my current squeeze, Miranda July. Actually Miranda is squeezing my one way wallet, one way. Emptying it out over at World of Books for anything by her. I have loved her perimenopausal novel ‘All Fours’ just so much. I’d recommend it to anyone. So much ground is covered and what’s covered is the need to figure out who to be. Who we are to be. And whether being that is worth it. And so much more. It just feels to me like Young Jesus and Miranda July are unearthing a culture that always existed. But somehow for all of our sophistication, it has been unwritten and unsung.

For a student of permaculture, Young Jesus unsurprisingly pays a lot of attention to the permanent impermanence of everything. Did you bother to notice that there’s nothing to hold on to?

This record was made with a lot of great help. And a lot of great garden planners. Shahzad Ismaily, who illuminated a path back to music, has been called the musician’s musician by the NYT, having played on or produced 400 records(NYT) in the past 20 years, the list is endless, but Feist, Lou Reed, Arooj Aftab are prominent enough to let you know. Engineering and production help came from Phil Weinrobe who works with Adrianne Lenker and Lonnie Holley. And he must have other jobs too. The just enough music elevation was enriched by Alex Lappin, and Alex Babbitt who were there from the start.

It's in the lyricism where John Rossiter (Young Jesus) unpicks scabs that form in painful and unsightly sunburnt cataracts, scarring the view of all you have known. From sometimes just a single match, hearing everything burn is really quite beautiful. It is a great and challenging listen.


Essential Information
Main image Young Jesus cropped sleeve art

Ancient Champion
Columnist

Ancient Champion writes for OUTSIDELEFT while relentlessly recording and releasing instrumental easy listening music for difficult people. The Champ is working on Public Transport, a new short story collection that takes up where 2021's Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere (Disco City Books) left off. It should be ready in time for the summer holidays. More info at AncientChampion.com


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