Angel Air 2016
British hard rock veterans look back on better times to get a clearer picture of what’s to come.
For all their intents and purposes, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to take JERUSALEM seriously, with titles like this, even though between their albums the band cut humorous slack on the DECKCHAIR POETS offerings. If 2014’s "Black Horses" saw the ensemble trying to locate light moments in a bleak environment, its follow-up nails current situation on the head, what with Lynden Williams’ adoption of declarative delivery. Such stance is used to great effect in opener “Snake” whose riffs vigorously bite into philosophical and political comments, but the key to the piece’s proud position would be the “when you were younger” line, the past being a recurring theme here.
In this context, the glorious “Simple Man” – written around the time of the group’s 1972 debut and restored for eventual recording now – has an air of nostalgia about it, while “Drums, Bass And Guitar” serves up a romp through rock ‘n’ roll era, listing each decade’s attributes, on a harmonica-enhanced slab of rhythm-and-blues. Of course, there’s a glance into the future as well, the groovy “All My Doors Are Open” eagerly embracing all the possibilities, yet where “The Book Of You” wallows in acoustic reflection, “Steaming Hot” is oiled with Geoff Downes‘ heavy organ to contrast the album’s title in infectious fashion. So even though tracks like “Northern Lights” sound too important for their worth, a violin intervention turns them into an exhilarating venture.
And then there’s “Cry” to take it all to “forever after” via folk dance and heroic moves, which may quite possibly be the band’s best epic. If this is an assessment of the route they are taking now, that’s the way to go.