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Juju - Juju

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-05-09
Juju - Juju
Juju - Juju

This is music of ritual.

It’s psych rock that recalls the sonic beauty of Can, circa Future Days and Popol Vuh, with albums like Einsjager und Siebenjager and Seligpreisung.

And then, of all things, it bends to the soul of John Fogerty and CCR’s southern backwoods Bo Diddley buzz.

Put simply: This is transcendental rock music that still has a pretty good and pretty spooky kick to it.

Now, being aged sixty plus, I remember the 70’s rock concerts, and they were, in a weird way, a religious experience. Cigarette and pot smoke formed halos around the music gods on the lighted stage. Mick Box, during Uriah Heep’s Return to Fantasy tour, passed some big chalice around for the immediate audience to partake in the ritual of rock ‘n’ roll music.

Today, pop music has big mega screens, just like the new churches. And selfies negate self-reflection.

But this is music that returns, not to the fantasy, but to the inner journey of pin-dropping attention that dances, through music, as sparks flame from the fire and worship the deep night stars. This music has a pagan pulse.

The first tune, “Samael” has the grinding bass of Motown’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” ala Creedence Clearwater Revival. Eerie voices ooze in and out of the tough groove. This is live ritual, as the fuzz guitar cuts through the ceremony with an extended solo that defines persistent pursuit of the infinite perfection, as witnessed through the rock ‘n’ roll eye. This music bends with the elliptical and rubbery orbit of Can’s “Moonshake.” And, it creeps like some hoodoo in the dark swamps of Bayou magic.

Ditto for “Stars and Sea,” which again, is ghostly, chanted, and filled with dark medicine, like a spirit’s circle dance that suddenly erupts with orgasmic guitar and even deeper mystical vocal prayer. And ditto, again, for “Sunrise Ocean” with its clever chooglin’ riff that frames the obscured and mystical voices that haunt the tune. Add to that a wondrous guitar solo that plays with infinity.  After that, “Lost,” with its ghostly piano, rhythmic percussion, more chanting, and euphoric guitar, serves as a fitting coda that offers yet another ritualistic and melodic votive candle.

In total contrast, “We Spit on Yer Grave” is upbeat, almost 80’s rock in its brisk melody. Of course, the guitar spins a dark psych spiral. But there’s no denying the infectious nature of the tune.

“Dance with the Fish” is a solo piano with a few soundscapes that overwhelm the song with beauty, all of which evoke the spirit of Florian Fricke’s and his quiet Popol Vuh moments.

“Bring ‘Em War” is a massive finale. The tune throbs. The vocals haunt gravestones. The guitar chops with certainty. Keyboards burble. The vocal chant increases. And the music swells. I am reminded of a pizza, which is my favorite food, cooking with cheese bubbling in a hot oven.

I don’t know. Perhaps I’m hungry as I write this. So, eat the metaphor (and enjoy the music!).

But the song cuts a wonderous groove that evokes spirits both high and low. It’s ritualistic stuff, from rock ‘n’ roll altars all over the world.

The great Ralph McTell (of “Streets of London” fame) wrote on his very first album 8 Frames a Second, “Paint the soul. Never mind the legs and arms.” This album does just that. It’s pretty great psych rock. And it conjures a time when rock music painted the soul, not with selfies, but with the self-reflection of an inner journey that simply sang songs that aspired to the heavens, and yet chased ghosts in the murky swamps of very Earthy and very ritualistic musical magic.

Originally released on Sunrise Ocean Bender Records. Now being reissued by Fuzz Club, purchase here.

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