Jesu’s Why Are We Not Perfect is an ambient cloud of an EP, featuring swirling waves of sound and noise that calm the spirit.
The EP is basically designed to tide over fans of the Justin Broadrick-led experimental/ambient/drone/shoegaze band until the release of a new full length. It is composed of five tracks, three of which were previously available on Broadrick’s 12-inch split record with Eluvium. The other two tracks are remixes.
Much has been made of Jesu’s previous work in the music nerd circles I so stylishly attempt to frequent. The self-titled full-length from 2004 achieved critical acclaim for its attention to thick sludge details. It was Conqueror from 2007, however, that really sealed the deal for most fans. Broadrick and his band achieved the sound of “indie metal,” pulling encrusted drone and ambient effects along for the ride on a surprisingly melodic album.
Listening to Jesu, it becomes apparent that Broadrick has not only a sense for sound but a craving for it. He keenly engages himself in the pursuit of noise, chasing down pleasant spectres of sonic joy on the sides of thunderous cliffs.
Broadrick played guitar for Napalm Death in the mid-'80s before changing directions slightly for the industrial metal of his founded band, Godflesh. After Godflesh, Broadrick embarked on a slew of other side projects. Jesu was one of them.
With Why Are We Not Perfect, listeners get a chance to experience some of Broadrick’s more heavenly productions. The music is filmy and light, yet deafening bass rumbles below threatening to destroy everything in its path. Despite the generally blissful nature of the music, Broadrick’s compositions never really put the listener at ease.
“Farewell” floats in on faint butterfly wings and settles into a gently winding song that feels like a journey. Broadrick cuts elegant landscapes of sound over one another and his delicately marvellous vocals float over the glossy milieu. An alternate version is included, timed to a heartbeat and tinged with exciting bass.
“Blind and Faithless” is a windswept track, pushing through the vapour with a dynamic underpinning and a vital, challenging bass-line.
The title track is relaxing and comforting, feeling like the tender rise and fall of a loved one’s chest during breathing. Broadrick adds some guitars to the mix towards the end, but they don’t disturb the song’s subtle tempo. The remix of this track doesn’t differ all that much, keeping the same pace and adding very little innovation.
Why Are We Not Perfect does what it sets out to do, offering a gorgeous and textured arrangement of Broadrick’s work. It doesn’t have the range or scope of a full Jesu record, of course, but it is still a very agreeable EP.