El Jesus de Magico - Just Deserts (2012)

So few bands ever make a truly great record that the scrutiny for those that do becomes far greater. Why can’t they do it again? Such was the case for El Jesus De Magico’s “Unclean Ghost” 7” from a few years back, two sides capturing a band that was mastering the moment, the dishwater-brown lo-fi muddle from which raised a Velvets-bred spectre that held all the other facets of that particular sound-creep in sway. Listen to it sometime and see if you can tell how they did it. Maybe they couldn’t figure it out, as sporadic recordings released since have found the band in somewhat of a holding pattern, mistaking improvised noise beds for the good night’s rest that rarely comes after such an adventure. Just Deserts is said to have been cobbled together from leftover recording sessions, but it’s the best release by EJDM since that single. It’s more of a mishmash of ideas from various times and places than anything cohesive, as the longer songs tend to stay put (“Good U.F.O./Bad U.F.O. Experience” in particular weighs this record down with a creepy crawly Birthday Party kinda debaucherous vibe that would have fit better at the end of the record than as the second track), but the ideas present in the band’s finest work are all here. It’s a power sprint through GBV tapes melted and stretched out to their breaking point, to the sandy-eyed, morning after tar pit of the Grifters’ earliest works, gleaning the elements that work into an unstable and occasionally brilliant product. EJDM simply decided not to put in any particular order, which is a bit maddening, but which will probably reveal its reasons several listens in. Silkscreened sleeve, 500 copies, first 100 on purple vinyl. (still-single)

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