Jess and the Ancient Ones – “The Horse and Other Weird Tales” (Svart Records)
If the first 2 releases from this impressive Finnish psychedelic rock band were enough to blow my mind then this 3rd release just simply had me jiving n groovin’ along to the fantastic material on show here! Notably also raising the (black) eyebrow of King Diamond who had them as his opening act for his North American tour in 2014, Jess and the Ancient Ones are one of those few bands that grab you instantaneously through the power of their incredible songs and then just hold you transfixed as their musical trip unfolds around you spiritually and mentally. Owing more than a nod to Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and The Mamas and The Papas, Jess’s vocals are in themselves an awesome force, equal in power and persona to the late Janis Joplin while being as soulful as Gracie Slick – now that’s quite a combination! Despite being a psychedelic rock band, Jess and the Ancient Ones pull yet another white rabbit outta the bag here, with only 2 of the 8 tracks here being around 7 minutes, which is what you’d expect of the genre, while the remainder all hit around 3 minutes for short, groove tastic treats that will have you jiving to a possessive combination of funked up mellotrons, trippy but up beaty guitars and the far out energised girlie highs of Jess. From ‘Return To Hallucinate’ with organs overflowing before Thomas Corpse’s guitar hits the freak out button, you just wait with baited breath until Jess takes you to new high amid a flow of drum rolls – yeah baby – while on ‘You And Eyes’ the flowing trippy jam just carries you off to a very cool melody and holds you for the next 7 minutes while the prominent keys, which are highly reminiscent of Ray Manzarek’s work in The Doors go to work on you subliminally. If you’re not tripping out in wild moves then ‘Shining’ will surely finish you off with its upbeat groove and Jess’s alluring vocals through an ultra catchy chorus backed by the keys and guitars once again dancing around inside your head – no wonder evil King Diamond couldn’t resist them ha ha! “The Horse and Other Weird Tales” is another 5 star record and deservedly so given that the difference between Jess and the Ancient Ones and other similar bands is that those guys sound retro, while these Finns actually sound like they’re from the late 60s. An utterly awesome band.