Exposé Online banner

Espers — Espers
(Locust L 44, 2004, CD)

Espers — The Weed Tree
(Locust L 73, 2005, CD)

Espers — II
(Drag City DC310, 2006, CD)

by Cesar Montesano, Published 2007-03-01

Espers Cover artThe Weed Tree Cover artII Cover art

Beautiful music delving into mantric excesses in protracted light is a nice way to spend an afternoon. Percolating effluvial melodies encroach upon sensibilities of newfound mellifluousness setting its sights upon somber dialectics hailing from the nether regions of yore: spooky, yet lovely, acid-folk. Delicate female larynx peals away, in shards of soul, as it clambers to speak of life's deeper vagaries. Haunting and effusive, the elusive effect is that of casting a semi-acoustic shadow o'er the patina of any retinal ability to see beyond simultaneously energizing and enervating enigma. Truth be told, the affectation of the debut is a mite precious; nonetheless, that does little to shear Espers of their power. Something of that ilk is to be expected when excavating to resurrect a partial ghost of Pearls Before Swine, steeped in the tea leaves of Linda Perhacs. For their auxiliary effort, between full albums proper, we have a set of melancholy covers wreathed in blooming funereal flowers. A sense of longing and foreboding pervades the entirety of their fragile second disc until the searing, and majestically swirling, ten-minute rendition of “Flaming Telepaths” – it tears one to agog threads towards effulgent madness and hidden euphoria – say hello to your repeat button.

Heralding from swishing folds along the altar of the born-again freak-folk church, this shimmering outfit is a prelate of tines overcome, they strike a necessary balance between the ecclesiastically lugubrious and the ecstatically sacrosanct. Vicariate expatriate export of a time lost, this band plays archaeology on the darker part of the akashic record, relishing wistful liberties under the dictatorship of mass public appeal. Their notational preambles are paeans for recovery and worthy of further discovery, to be sought out as the currently gigging unit they are. If there is one aspect that may sway the unwary listener is that they mostly perform sad music. Even when it is not overtly expressed in the lyric, the underlying thread of battling against an amorphous despair reigns entangled, and sticky, in your hair. Seemingly, one cannot sing happy songs in this modality without sounding a tad on the twee side; even the illustrious folk troubadour Donovan himself could not escape being judged a foolhardy lightheart for simply not being depressed enough. It would therefore not be far from prudent to gander a guess that nothing makes one more human than taking a wavering faith and channeling it into an art form, something that Greg Weeks, Meg Baird, Brooke Sietinsons, and erstwhile clan, do abundantly well. Expression is a formidable tool and they weld a dark blade magnificently along the skin of a nuanced curtain bedecked with and sheathed in atmospheric glories.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2004 releases, 2005 releases, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Espers, Greg Weeks

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Herbie Kritzer - The Tree Lizard – Californian Herbie Kritzer is clearly someone who enjoys having fun with music. Even his name sounds a bit cartoon-ish, and there’s certainly a streak of sly wit and boy-ish playfulness to many of...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues