Jess and the Ancient Ones – “Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes” (Svart Records)
Monster Magnet, Bloody Hammers, Year Of The Goat….. there are some bands out there seriously bringing back the sounds of the late 60s and early 70s – and now one can proudly add Jess and the Ancient Ones to that list! Formed out’ve the ashes of Finnish death metal band Deathchain in 2010, this psychedelic rock band may have their minds and bodies firmly rooted in the age of Aquarius, although they are often also mentioned in occult rock circles. Whatever the case their magic, as inspired by the likes of experimental pop producer Joe Meek and LSD scientist Albert Hofmann, was strong enough for King Diamond to make them his support on last year’s North American tour!! Having a definite spirituality about their groovy music certainly helps with plenty of rhythmic progressions and primal hypnotic percussion, but equally the sextet bring in surf rock, jazz and blues, all shaped by abundant mellotrons, twanging guitars and abundant organs – as well as the odd tuba, flute and trombone! Despite what would seem to be a full enough sound come in Jess’s vocals, naturally making waves through the relentless jamming, exuding feminine soul, grace and power in the same way as Janis Joplin and Gracie Slick did – yep, she’s that good! While abandoning genre rules, I’d glad to see the music isn’t contrived other than in being pursued to derive the greatest possible pleasure from it – as well as the uplifting bliss that ensues from the spacey atmosphere of songs like the groovy psych rock of ‘In Levitating Secret Dreams‘, the far out occult wah overload of ‘Wolves Inside My Head‘ with Jess’s trance vocals doing exactly and monster mind bend of 22 minute closer ‘Goodbye To Virgin Grounds Forever‘, with plenty of spoken word, tranquility and hypnotic almost ritualistic vocals achieving a total mind body experience. Love and Freedom may have remained the message, but not in many years have I heard it expressed so beautifully and with such honest open mindedness.