[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
There is a beauty to black and white cinema in that sometimes one cannot tell whether it is day or night, this tenuous arena of disorientation is where we find Leyden Jars on their second album. It is still quite hostile, still very uncompromising but something’s been added and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what it is: melody.
While their work as Glass Isle and even the previous Jars release gave little ground in the way of humanity, ‘The Nature and That’ extends the olive branch. Does this mean you’ll be hearing them on your favorite podcasts? Outside of the lovely Resonance FM, it’s doubtful. One tends to hope for the best outcome which is another feature this record has in spades: optimism. I’ve read that this is just the second act of a three-part opus, however, so maybe just maybe there’ll be a clearer explanation and a tying up of all these loose ends in a little while; there has not been much time elapsed between this one and ‘Heat Death’, just be mindful of that.
Their evolution in sound has taken them back out to where the tides meet the land, in this strangely alien terrain they make their home.
Leyden Jars take the most innocuous of sounds and pervert their matrices in unimaginable ways; there’s the penultimate track early in the spool, the aptly named “The Waters Rise” which caught me completely off guard. As the analog textures whistled and whirled about me there came out of all this chaos a voice, one which cut through everything and revealed to me a vision of desiccated rocks overrun by aquatic life. The moon shone full and bright down upon what appeared to look like no-man’s land but something was moving through the shadows and these vocals were calling to it. I wished to know what the revelation would be but the light began to wane and the roar of approaching surf drowned out everything around me.
This release is abrasive at first and if played too loudly will make your ears ring but like those monochromatic productions mentioned earlier it has the power to upset perception in a most meticulous way. As with all of their output, this isn’t a terribly long album but it goes deep. They aren’t the only ones who toil out here in the tide pools but they are doggedly determined to take you along on the expedition regardless of the outcome. Such sights are there to see; the choice to depart remains with you…