Envy / Jesu - Split (Cover Artwork)

Envy / Jesu

Envy / Jesu: SplitSplit (2009)
Hydra Head Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Summer's halfway over, and I still haven't made a beach trip yet. Haven't burnt my feet on sand or dodged New Jersey's tag policy or rocked my beach records. The Mescaleros, Band of Horses and Minus the Bear always put me in a sunny mood, and that reissue of Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue was a .
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Summer's halfway over, and I still haven't made a beach trip yet. Haven't burnt my feet on sand or dodged New Jersey's tag policy or rocked my beach records. The Mescaleros, Band of Horses and Minus the Bear always put me in a sunny mood, and that reissue of Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue was a welcome addition last year. Another album I always spin, preferably at night with the waves crashing in the distance and maybe some percussive rain, is My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. The ultimate shoegaze record, it's a beautiful hazy mess. A thundering behemoth. The dreamiest, the swirliest, the gosh dang bestest. And while I've found other bands that kinda, sorta, almost approximate that sound (M83, Mogwai, Sigur Rós), or rather certain angles of it, nothing has ever quite hit me the same way. And while sometimes that makes me sad, it's still great to hear MBV's ideas live on, however directly or indirectly. Which is why I don't mind the year it took for Envy and Jesu's split EP to drop in the States.

Jesu and Envy are two top-notch post-rock/post-hardcore/post-MBV bands that blend passion and atmosphere quite well. Envy goes first on the split with three tracks. If these songs recall Envy's work with Thursday last year, well, that might be because they were recorded around the same time in 2008. There's a more profound rising/falling arc here than on the Thursday split, and the material, when taken as a whole, feels better conceived. And also like that other EP, Envy comes out sounding like the better band. "Conclusion of Existence" opens the album with a subdued, droning electronic beat and ethereal guitars. It's so hypnotic and calming that when "A Winter Quest for Fantasy" repeats the same trick before exploding during its final 90 seconds, it's revelatory. Here is a band with a grasp of both chaos and order, violence and passivity. After this superb rising action, "Life Caught in the Rain" brings the listener back down. Where Loveless blew out of the gate with "Only Shallow" before creating a mood that stretched across the album, Envy shows moderation upfront, with a dynamic second act. However, all three tracks need to be considered together; the sequencing is crucial.

Jesu fills out the record's back end with two lengthy ambient dance jams. Loveless was a lot of things, one of them being a prediction of the UK's love of jungle and techno. "Hard to Reach" winks at "Soon," blending in cloudy, swirling instrumentation over a mid-tempo dance beat. At almost 14 minutes long, it's somewhat of a patience-tester. But then, if you're going to hate Jesu for droning too much, you probably shouldn't have put ??em on in the first place. "The Stars That Hang Above You" is more manageable at about half the running time, and just as solid. The tracks lack the flow of Envy's material, though. Not that it's a knock or anything. It's just that Jesu's songs work more individually, especially since "Hard to Reach" cycles through a number of ideas before its conclusion.

I know it's been a year since these songs were written and recorded and what-not, but I can't help but wonder where Envy and Jesu will go from here. Envy's half of this split is arguably the best I've heard from them so far. Jesu's got a full-length and an EP nearing completion for 2009. Until then, at least I've got five more nighttime ocean jams.


People who liked this also liked:
Thursday - Common ExistenceThe Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to ComeThe Mountain Goats - Heretic PrideHot Water Music - Til the Wheels Fall OffModest Mouse - No One's First, and You're NextThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundSilversun Pickups - SwoonStrike Anywhere - Iron FrontEnvy - RecitationJesu - Ascension

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
DickAround (July 28, 2009)

Check out Fleeting Joys - Despondent Transponder if you're looking for something in the MBV vein, very Loveless inspired. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuUeluek0xI

brandonsideleau (July 27, 2009)

I have the two Greymachine songs available and they're awesome....just waiting on the full length.

crackpotdemagogue (July 26, 2009)

i really need to get ahold of this

mpc (July 26, 2009)

brandonsidelau - check out Greymachine, it's Broadrick with a guy from Isis. Fairly similar to Godflesh.

brandonsideleau (July 25, 2009)

On a completely unrelated note- the new Pissed Jeans album will sear your eyebrows off. I found it while looking for the new Jesu (which I couldn't find.) I'll be buying both in due time.

Jelone (July 25, 2009)

wearestillalive - It didn't "officially" come out in the U.S. until this year.

R3vengeTherapy - I'ma hafta to check it out.

mikexdude (July 25, 2009)

Envy can do no wrong.

wearestillalive (July 25, 2009)

Didn't this come out at least a year ago?

brandonsideleau (July 25, 2009)

I like Jesu...I think they're awesome...but part of me wants to hear Justin do something similar to Godflesh (preferably something akin to 'Streetcleaner')

R3vengeTherapy (July 24, 2009)

Jelone, If you haven't heard it (I have a feeling you definitely have), one of the very best shoegaze records from this decade is Asobi Seksu's Citrus. It has that MBV references while feeling very fresh on its own. Their newest record that came out this year seems more restrained, but still a very good record. Just...more pop than anything.

On the topic of this release, I love Jesu's music, but I can never take the vocals. I might check this out for Envy's half.

fuckfatmike (July 24, 2009)

This rules hard, though i find envy's side to be a bit weak, though i'm not a big fan of their new style.

teaessare (July 24, 2009)

awesome split. just wondering, does envy ever play any shows in the US?

name (July 24, 2009)

sometimes i wonder why bands do splits with envy. i mean, it's just setting yourself up to look lame by comparison.

score's for envy, of course.

jamespastepunk (July 24, 2009)

Kids, here's how this review ought to go:

Envy throws down three tracks that blast any other post-emo/hardcore/shoegaze band out of the water, finishing on the most beautiful song I've heard in the last three years in "Life Caught In the Rain". Envy's side is so good it's stupid.

Jesu, by comparison, shows up.

inagreendase (July 24, 2009)

Envy's side is soooooo fucking good. Easily some of their best stuff.

Jesu's is okay. Not as interesting as Silver or Conqueror.

24hourpriapism (July 24, 2009)

great split. i should've brought in some jesu today. it's cold and rainy out. in july no less.

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