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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

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