This review is from: Spring Tides (Audio CD)
Three years ago Jeniferever released their debut `Choose a Bright Morning' which was a triumph of subtle post-rock with some fantastic soft vocals adding character and grace to the whole album. Now the band returns with their second offering 'Spring Tides'. Is this the moment when they grow into a recognised and respected act alongside Sigur Ros, Mono and the others in the big boys league of post-rock. Some might claim that they already hold a place there. Either way this new record is one that will rubber stamp any remaining questions as they stand proudly amongst the significant few.
The album opens with `Green Meadow Island' which has a certain stripped back quality to it thanks to the deceptive simplicity of the music in the initial verse. This also lends a certain honesty to the sound that is refreshing and intriguing at the same time. As the track develops it becomes heavier and looses the simplicity which is replaced by understated aggression, which is then replaced by a gently swirling atmosphere. `Concrete and Glass' starts with quietly echoing string sections which sound so crisp as if reflecting the author's native climate. This atmosphere subtly changes through the track slowly becoming warmer and more enclosed, and the layered vocals towards the end of the track add a more communal feeling. `Ox-Eye' starts in quite a thoughtful manner with a regular and deliberate drum beat combined with gently chiming and echoing guitar lines. The vocals are feel very honest here. The track then breaks and becomes much more urgent and intense in true post-rock style. This break is not overtly aggressive though. The vocals match the intensity of the music throughout adding depth to the sound. It's a strangely ecstatic sound.
Once `Ox-Eye' fades out it is replaced by `St Gallen' which has a notable different pace to start with a simple, mournful piano line. It is joined by nice soft bass and nice orchestration, including some nice echoing trumpets. More layers are constantly added to the sound to create greater depth without damaging the overall atmosphere. This really is a trick that Jeniferever pull off very well and should be noted by others. This track is followed by the title track from recent EP `Nangijala'. This is a wonderful track filled with more subtlety. It's almost ten minute length is no burden to the listener and there are some great touches along the way. The simply strummed guitar of the opening is very charming and it gives space for the vocals to be clearly heard in the mix. The absolute triumph of this track is the way that the intricacy develops without notice adding beautiful depth whilst maintain the open atmosphere. It then becomes a little more aggressive with stronger bass lines and more distorted guitars. The vocals become similarly more intense at the same time. After a brief moment of calm the drums then drive the track back into a swirling moment of almost anthemic intensity. It never falls into the all too easy traps of big hooks and catchy vocals though, therefore maintaining its originality and individual character.
So halfway through the album and we have already had some treats. Is there still more then? `Sparrow Hill' has an echoing guitar line and gently bouncing drum part that adds a new dimension to the record as a whole. `Lives Apart' then adds more calm to the album. It is a questioning and curious track that ends with a sense of realisation and resignation. The lyrics are truly wonderful throughout this track as well. `The Hourglass' is a more intense affair with stronger and more persistent drums and bass as well as a gently picked guitar line. Though the intensity of sound builds throughout the track it never manages to break and so leaves a sense of unreleased tension in its wake. `Ring Out the Grief' continues with a stronger drum beat and more intricate guitar. The added rhythm that comes with the vocals gives the track a slight sense of urgency as well that builds brilliantly as the track progresses. Diversity is added with a moment of calm which is punctuated by gentle piano. The last track shimmers gently and provides a really nice conclusion to a very good album.
This is album represents a moment of calm in the ever aggressive media circus that surrounds the music world more and more at the moment. It is a real triumph of originality.