Sep 3, 2012

The Jesus Lizard - Down (1994)


Mostly overlooked/hated by fans, I felt the same way about Down until I started asking it what are you all about?! The follow-ups are bland/sell-outs, and that's obvious, but throughout Down you get that they're trying, just trying at something different to their celebrated first three records. That is, a sell-out's obvious, and Down doesn't once seem that way. It's a mysterious, subtle, feel-bad record where the others were worked-up screechy screech-a-thons, and I think that's what it's all about. Ostensibly accessible, but really just refined with a genuinely disturbing core. For one thing, Yow sings. Unconventionally, sure, but his voice is no longer used as an instrument, more an eerie wailing accompaniment to the music. The music, like the voice, is drier than ever and relies on repetition and even (OH MAN) simplicity although the guitars cut creatively and the rhythms are still bawse. I almost wanna avoid saying it 'cause they were beefing at the time, but it's got more in common with Shellac's Terraform than their other records (in my opinion!). Refined arguably to its aesthetic detriment, but to hanger onerers the minimalist approach and downer-ness seem bold and necessary. I dig the refinement and when Yow moans Just when you're about to learn to smile again I'm going to be the one to teach you how to cry on Elegy there's chills rather than noise rock shock reactions, and I feel that

A+

here

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