Angel Air 2014
Another ride for ghostly cavalcade, from fear to eternity.
A band with a cult following, this U.K. collective’s self-titled album from 1972 is mostly remembered for being produced by Ian Gillan rather than its tasty hellishness. That was gone in 2009, when singer Lynden Williams and guitarist Bob Cooke, refusing to be consigned to the depth of oblivion, resurrected old name. Their new record, “Escalator,” didn’t follow the original template and fleshed out the erstwhile skeleton with powerful organ, courtesy of Geoff Downes, while retaining the ’70s feel, and “Black Horses” runs along the same lines.
Gloom may fill the tracks such as bluesy “The Albatross” with its sharp chorus and Hammond drawl or angry opener “Puppet King” but, as the violin-swept swamp flow of “Leopard Skin Pie” proves, it doesn’t take a hard punch to ram home the vibrant critique of today’s world. Yet there’s no doomsday portent in its reggae middle section or the accordion-coated cover of Bobby Womack’s classic “It’s All Over Now,” unlike “Smokestack Ammunition” where the group threaten CURVED AIR operation. Still, the pounding of “Surfing From Sydney To Marrakesh” works wonders in this context, even though a humorous “Let Me” that mocks heavy metal poetry over a tasty riff should have been left on the collection of songs which JERUSALEM released as DECKCHAIR POETS.
But it helps to balance the pathos of “Eternity”: not devoid of sincerity, it’s a fittingly romantic, if a bit funereal, finale to the JERUSALEM’s uneven race. Feels like they’re saying farewell again.