Highlights: Preachers, Shatter Together, This Time, Chameleon
After a couple of unassuming folksy sleepers I’ve recently reviewed, “hell yeah” was my initial and, let’s face it, inevitable reaction to My Jerusalem’s new album. Thumping bass guitar, tasteful screams, colourful (though never oppressive) darkness and strong, palpable melodies – all makes for a compelling, rocking album that is in all fairness one of the year’s best.
Preachers is a bit like an indie version of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds with much bigger mass appeal. And who would have a problem with that? I will admit that some of this stuff gets really close to mainstream rock we all know and despise, but don’t worry: the edge is always retained, whether through clever backing vocals, brilliant instrumentation or just sheer class these guys have.
Class comes primarily courtesy of songwriting, of course. Which is quite diverse: you’ve got the brassy, infectious “This Time” (my personal favourite); you’ve got the catchy, seductive, almost anthemic “Shatter Together”; you’ve got the screaming, testosterone-fuelled rocker “Born In The Belly” that features some inspired guitar work; you’ve got the rough folk-ballad “Mono”; you’ve got the sombre, melancholic singalong “Chameleon”... They do stumble into ‘good, but ordinary’ category on occasion (“Oh Little Sister” is rather generic and “Between Space” is rather bland), but overall I do not have too many complaints.
This is the sort of album that would normally unite mainstream and non-mainstream audiences, and so I won’t hesitate and recommend this to anyone. Not overwhelming stuff, but I’d call Preachers mildly great.