Jeniferever – Silesia
By: Brett Spaceman
Real drama. Real emotions.
Jeniferever’s debut long player wasn’t quite the first record I ever reviewed (almost) but it was the first to make the rapid transition from review stack into my own personal collection. (See my ‘Albums of the Decade’ feature) The Swede’s are now onto their third album and are starting to look peerless. Writers (myself included) have compared them to Sigur Ros and Appleseed Cast, tremendous bands both, but Jeniferever are moving on now. Moving beyond.
If you haven’t heard them, Jeniferever belong to a clutch of clever bands (iLiKETRAiNS, Redjetson and The Twilight Sad, etc) who realised post-rock had a terrific sound but that vocals and lyrics offer too much to let go with. So yeah we get the epic, sweeping, glacial guitars you might expect of a Scandinavian act only as a backdrop to some of the most emotionally overwhelming material imaginable. Jeniferever have a song (from a previous album) called ‘Ring Out The Grief’ and that’s a perfect summary of what they do. The sadness chimes out. Riding the crest of Jeniferever’s latest outpourings come oh so familiar themes – contemplation leading to crushing realisation, escaping bad memories, and then having to go back. Gut wrenching material.
“Through the darkest hours I will hold your hand”
Because they are progressive (with a small p) one might be tempted to compare Jeniferever with Mew. I enjoy the Danes but Jeniferever hit much more powerfully. In terms of effect they are more akin to Joy Division or Cocteau Twins. Successive Jeniferever albums have become rather like episodes of Half Life. You know there will be beautiful, epic sequences but you also know there will be passages which are tough to negotiate. The latest album Silesia is no different. Indeed, there are times when I’m not sure Silesia isn’t their most challenging record so far. Other moments make a mockery of this notion. ‘Deception Pass’ explodes with incandescent violence while ‘The Beat Of Our Own Blood’ is probably the catchiest track in their career to date.
A pattern quickly emerges where the odd-numbered tracks are accessible whilst the even numbered ones meander. This pattern is consistent until we approach the albums end when it kind of folds back over itself with ‘Dover’ sparkling and ‘Hearths’ sprawling all over the place.
At least that’s what I used to think. Umpteen plays later I’m getting the impression Silesia may be the sleeper Jeniferever album – the one that gets re-appraised as a ‘classic’ in years to come. I’m still in love with those ‘odd’ numbers but the ‘evens’ are starting to make sense. Songs that seemed to just ebb and flow begin to swell. Begin to surge.
Once in a while a band comes along which reminds us of the true, emotionally waste-laying, power of music. We all lead 100 mph lives and our attention spans have been shot to pieces but Jeniferever will never pander to this. Epic, astonishing and masterful, they are no quick fix. Their music demands as much from us as we should from the artists we hold most dearly.
And on Silesia, those that give… shall receive.
Silesia is released on Monotreme Records, April 11th.