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Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter

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Jesse Sykes explains the origin of the title of the new record "Marble Son" - "I liked the idea of something beautiful that may or may not be appreciated in its own time...of course, a statue...

Jesse Sykes explains the origin of the title of the new record "Marble Son" - "I liked the idea of something beautiful that may or may not be appreciated in its own time...of course, a statue comes to mind. They seem to last forever and are beautiful and viable even as they disintegrate. Some were built so well that their dissolution is almost more powerful because it exposes the process and the bare essentials are revealed - we are left with an arm, a torso - and sometimes those parts say enough. There's a line in the song "Marble Son" that goes - "Oh marble son why cant I love you more? I wish I'd found you beautiful before." Many things I didn't see beauty in when I was young, I find beautiful now, and visa-versa. I think about relationships and how some "miss the boat" in their own lifetime and if we need to wait another lifetime (metaphorically or not) to understand true love, then so be it. Some will never find it, but a few will luck out and experience a love that lasts through many lifetimes! We all have our own evolutionary path to understanding beauty and our capacity to love. The image of a marble son spoke to me on all these levels - strong, forgotten, loved, beautiful, sad. Eternal."

Though oft-saddled with the "alt-country" tag, of late, Sykes and Co has moved into slightly heavier and darker territories. Marble Son their self-produced fourth album, exemplifies a band at their creative pinnacle - heavier and more complex than previous records; the music resonates among the parallel worlds of the avant-garde and the timeless. Sykes voice and sometimes-mystical leanings (the former described aptly by Magnet as "sounding less like a performer and more like a sage") and her bands incomparable musical rapport, culminate in what the New York Times has described as "spellbound music, rapt in fatalism and sorrow." Sykes trademark thematic darkness and acclaimed songwriting have never been more present; yet Marble Son speaks of evolution, which Sykes describes as, "a sonic mirror of the most chaotic, turbulent times of our lives, where beauty triumphed, and the tears that spilled became this record".

The album begins with "Hushed By Devotion", an eight minute, swelling, rock opus - reminiscent of 1960's San Francisco inspired psychedelia, which provides Wandscher (who co-wrote more of this record then previous) the sonic space to explore the depths of his guitar genius. Characterized by an emblazoned guitar solo, ghostly layered-vocal murmurings, and trademark lyrical poignancy; its a brilliant, ambitious statement-of-intent that commands attention and implies that some level of commitment will be required if you choose to enter this album's world.

The record is an extension of their previous work, influenced in part by an association with the art-metal movement centered around Los Angeles label, Southern Lord. This "unlikely" musical friendship between Sykes and Co, and influential underground bands SunnO)) and Boris was immortalized on the 2006 album Altar, from which the song "Sinking Belle" (a Sykes/Boris/SUNNO)) co-write) has become an underground classic among metal fans.

Their musical kinship is audible in Marble Son - an utterly unique, yet subtle genre crossover. It is a journey - a gutsy romp laced with moments of shimmering, retro beauty, underpinned by pastoral images of Sykes interior world unfolding. Listen to the standout track "Pleasuring the Divine", a gritty roar of a song, fed by Wandschers frenetic riffs and sludgy feedback, combined with frantic drumming - its entirely unexpected and totally mesmerizing.

Thats not to say that there arent moments of hushed acoustic wonder amongst the 11 tracks. "Be It Me, Or Be It None" is a glorious four minutes of hazy, Tim Buckley-esque folk. While album closer "Wooden Roses" is an ethereal meditation on finding love only too late - guitars sparkle, strings stir, and Sykes voice swells and creaks beautifully right up until the final second.

Marble Son is the sound of a band evolving personally and sonically - urgently expanding to mirror the chaos of modern culture, while not forgetting the seemingly hushed beauty of the past. The result is more relevant than ever and as Jesse puts it "we have never been closer to sounding like the sweet hereafter than with what we have created here."