Jesu - Lifeline (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Lifeline (2007)

Hydra Head

Does Jesu's Justin Broadrick live in a recording studio? Since unleashing the 40-minute Heart Ache "EP" in 2004, Jesu has released at least two more full-lengths, three EPs and a rarities collection. The latest of these however, Lifeline is an unfortunately inconsistent effort from the prolific musician.

Unlike Broadrick's previous efforts, notably Conqueror (released earlier this year) and the Silver EP (2006), he fails to offer interesting hooks lightly buried under an arresting atmosphere. Instead, Lifeline opts for tepid, usually disenchanting arrangements. The opening title track is solid enough, with Broadrick setting up his usual landscape of heavy, droning programming, however slower and more deliberate he sounds than usual. But then comes "You Wear their Masks," a black and white effort that isn't terribly striking and merely features Broadrick moaning incomrephensibly for over six minutes.

"Storm Comin' On" features Swans' Jarboe on vocals, and it's interesting just because it seems like such a departure for Jesu. However, the song doesn't necessarily go anywhere, and while Jarboe's performance is creepy and unsettling enough, it often comes off as too free-form to really work as a cohesive piece. It lightly picks up and starts to make sense by the four-minute mark, and Broadrick adds some soft and subtle metal chugging for a finishing layer. Still, it isn't particularly enjoyable, and the last track, "End of the Road" floats by without many discerning qualities.

Maybe Broadrick's ideas ran a little thin here; maybe these are old ideas he just recently brought to life. Either way, Lifeline is a disappointing release, but luckily Jesu has released enough impressive pieces that this misstep can be forgiven.