Justin Broadrick is a name that needs little introduction. If you find it’s necessary, go buy every Godflesh record and brush up on your history. However, the wildly prolific Brummie has made Jesu his treasure in the last few years and after a two year wait, we have a new full-length record in the shape of Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came, possibly his finest work under the Jesu moniker yet, which definitely says something.
For over a decade, Broadrick has been using Jesu as a vessel to mesh his drone, shoegaze, doom and industrial sensibilities, all to supreme effect with zero duds to be found in his back catalogue, and while the backbone of Jesu has remained consistent, each release has tried its hand at different ideas. There was the harsh and crushing Infinity, a single-track 50 minute excursion into the abyss and then there was the meandering doom inflection of the Sun Down / Sun Rise EP or Opiate Sun’s poppy hooks clashing with droning distortion.
Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came proves that while Godflesh’s reunion has been unstoppable and Broadrick’s several ambient and electronic projects are churning out records like a mass production factory, he has never lost sight of creating another grand opus with Jesu.
The album explores the ambient sides of Jesu in even greater depth, with a heavy emphasis on the clean guitar and swathes of electronics. All the while the juddering, droning riffs are still intact, meshing oddly well with Broadrick’s hypnotic as ever before. His ability to coalesce different worlds into one cohesive juxtaposition has always been staggeringly impressive and none of that has been forgotten. This is Jesu in excelsis.
The meanderings of first single/video ‘Homesick’ are rife with notions from Lifeline and Opiate Sun, with those metallised My Bloody Valentine flourishes, meanwhile ‘Comforter’ is a tranquil amble through ambience reminiscent of Sigur Ros but still sounds quintessentially Jesu.
The standout and the centrepiece of Everyday… is immediately apparent, not just when you listen to the record but even on first glance at the tracklisting. The 17 minute juggernaut of ‘The Great Leveller’ is one of the most appropriate song titles on a Jesu record.
It’s heavy and crushing of course, but its emotional weight is unparalleled. Initially, gorgeous string and piano arrangements conjure up an atmospheric air before familiar gentle guitars and hazy synths join in. Come the 4.25 mark, the serenity is disturbed by an invasive wash of droning guitars and Justin’s pained call reverberating throughout the track.
Soon though, we are plunged into a more brooding passage that’s at odds with the calm of the song’s opening minutes or it’s hefty riffs, only for the lush strings to willingly pluck up the atmosphere again. For a long time, Broadrick’s music has had a bleak view and morose vibe but Jesu has always provided moments of light shining through the cracks, Everyday… is definitely a fine example of this, ‘The Great Leveller’ specifically, where it begins swaying between the serene and heavy.
It’s easy to throw around some hyperbole for this record, but simply put, it’s arguably the best Jesu record since 2007’s Conqueror – but whatever side of the fence you are, it’s anything but a disappointment from Broadrick, though it’s finally come to a stage where he couldn’t make a bad album even if he tried.