21 Apr 2015

Baby Jesus / Baby Jesus (album review)


Some of its songs have had less than 10 plays on (public) soundcloud, it's only available as a cassette to 100 people, and it's come from the heart of a Swedish city you've probably heard of, but the self-titled debut by Swedish 5-piece is arguably (bar the Viet Cong and Surfjan records) the most essential album of the year so far. It's an uncontrollable explosion of psychedelic punk, that could genuinely have been recorded in 1968, because whilst it lacks any real evidence of modern studio wizardry, it's raw organ and guitar combo, and out-and-out firepower will blow you away.

10 tracks. 31 minutes. This album is a killer; each track is a cacophony of brutish guitars, Nuggets album organ, and a real chemistry between the members that results in a real hypnotic groove. It's essentially psychedelia in it's rawest form, 60's revivalism done in a way that is completely timeless.

Cry, Cry, Cry is a bombastic version of Run, Run, Run by The Third Rail, pulled backwards through punk rock, psychobilly and the 80's garage fuzz of The Fuzztones into the 21st century. It's maybe the best use of that incredible omnipresent organ, but that's a bit statement, because on Trembling Away it's savage, and on Nice Walk it gives the perfect surfadelic tone to make the number sound like a Del-Tones-on-acid affair.

But it's not all a 60's revival - well, it nearly is, and it's a perfect, authentic version of that - but on Deep Blue Delay it transcends even that, You're hit immediately by a killer wall of reverb, and Ride-esque amounts of whirling, screaming guitars, before that savage organ boots you along. It's the perfect marriage of shoegazing amounts of reverb, hypnotic psychedelia, and screaming vocals.

Ah! The screaming vocals, that's something I've not mentioned. Throughout, the frontman screams and caterwalls, like MJ meets Iggy (interpret the nameshow you want, but I'm meaning Iggy Pop and MJ of Hookworms), and it's something else. It blows you backwards on Haven't Seen The Light, and the raw power throughout the record is one of it's greatest assets.

But despite it's primitive, primal feel, Baby Jesus is a complete 21st century psychedelic gem. Even when they're not going for it (like the brassy Vansinne), it has that authentic charm that some revivalists (like maybe Temples) lack, but when Baby Jesus crank it up to 11, it has the mind-bending, ear-blasting raw power that only the Stooges and The Thirteenth Floor Elevators could muster. In 2015, it won't push the boundaries it would have in 1969, but let's just leave it at this; Baby Jesus is one of the albums of the year, and it's one of the finest works of psychedelic revivalism I've heard in ages.

Here BABY JESUS in full on their label's soundcloud HERE or scroll down to stream it
Buy it here (on cassette or mp3)
An LP version is coming out later this year (Date TBA)

9.2/10

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(written by calum cashin)