Neurosis & Jarboe - _Neurosis & Jarboe_
(Neurot Recordings, 2003)
by: James Slone (8 out of 10)
_Neurosis & Jarboe_ is a collaboration that seems natural and inevitable. The former stage darling of the Swans, Jarboe brings a blues-laden, southern gothic sensibility into the Neurosis formula of claustrophobic guitars and moody back alley ambiance, creating one of the most textured rock collaborations of recent years. Neurosis' psychedelic doom provides the perfect bedrock for Jarboe's lurid sensibilities. And she's no stranger to walls of distorted guitar either, having long since mastered the art of navigating violent noise and haunted soundscapes on classic Swans albums like _The Great Annihilator_. This collection of songs, culled together from tapes passed between her and the band, finds the center between empty estrangement and artful violence, marrying Jarboe's usual themes of religion, obsession, and rejection with Neurosis' carefully honed blister. They've grown immensely as a unit. No longer loud for volume's sake, they've brought quiet openness into their sound, creating a gulf of silence amid the noise. Droning rhythms and airy guitar tones are just as prevalent as bombast, and Jarboe's voice bleeds into it, sometimes a blues infected wail and other times a nearly subliminal whisper suggesting words. There are moments here that sound more like PJ Harvey than classic Neurosis, and these moments, dense and encapsulating, elevate the Neurosis sound even higher. Jarboe's voice brings a decadent swampy atmosphere to music that cries out for it. The album's a bit too turgid and homogenous for classic status, but it definitely points in an interesting possible direction for Neurosis. Like Mike Patton and The Dillinger Escape Plan, it just seems like a natural fit.


(article published 6/8/2004)

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