Monday, February 11, 2008

Jade Leary - Black Glitter Diaries

Some reviews come to me without any difficulty and the words seem to jump onto the page . . . others, like a fine wine, take time. I had to sit on Jade Leary’s Black Glitter Diaries for a while longer than I normally would because, well . . . it deserves that extra time. It would be a complete injustice to simply throw up a review that glanced over this fine piece of work. So, as Mr. Leary has taken such time and great care in putting together a sonic masterpiece, I figure the least that I could do is take my time and let the words ferment before I poured them onto the page.

Black Glitter Diaries is a sonic spectacle filled with ambient musicianship and laced with emotional passages of lyric. “Agnes and the Shadowlamb” opens the disc with a burst of distorted and textured guitars when suddenly we, the listener, are lifted into empty space as the bottom completely drops from the mix and we’re left feeling weightless. Slowly, the music begins to build and flow around our suspended forms and, rather than the ground meeting our feet again, we’re carried through time and space as a marvelous journey of sound acts as our vehicle to another reality. By the time “Howling at the Dam” winds down, we find that our physical forms have barely moved, but we know that our spiritual form has.

Jade writes a catchy melody and cleverly mixes that dynamic in the ambient sound of lush keyboards and textured guitars. The chorus for “Agnes and the Shadowlamb”, as that of “Scream, Atomic Boy” are as striking as anything we’re forced to listen to on the radio . . . just better. His voice has that tortured quality that all the great singer / songwriters have, but there’s also something else very unique to the nuance. It has a bit of swagger without being overly cocky. At times, it shimmers like a shadow to Ian Astbury, at others, is reminiscent of a mellow David Gilmour. Check out the tune, “Elliott” for the Gilmour-esque vocal work. This song is simply a wonderous piano driven tune dripping with somberness and the vocals convey a mixture of hope and sadness.

“We Were Eternal” features a beautiful guitar passage to the accompanying lyric. As the song continues, it just grows in magnitude as percussion, synthesizers, and gorgeous vocal harmonies enter the aural field. What an amazingly epic tune!

As much as Jade Leary opens himself on a emotional level, he’s not afraid to let the distortion ring out and get a little bombastic. There is absolutely nothing boring about Black Glitter Diaries. The dynamic mixture of heavy and mellow tracks make this a truly entertaining listen. “The Black Stars” opens up as heavily as “We Were Eternal” is mellow. “Saints in Cadillacs” is a bass heavy brooding tune that could have you thinking of Nine Inch Nails. I personally want to put on my leather jacket, grab some reflective sunglasses, slick back my hair, and strut down the street with attitude when I hear this track. It’s got a swagger to it and is a fresh change of pace from the rest of the tunes.

Black Glitter Diaries is a high quality piece of music that will make your soul soar, and is best listened to with headphones. Yeah . . . you can listen to it on your home or car stereo systems, but you’ll inevitably miss some of the more interesting musical moments that get washed away by external sound. So, go over to, track down Jade Leary, purchase Black Glitter Diaries (Fossildawn is also a solid piece of work, but I’ll get to that later), and have an out of body experience. Suggested listening environment is for inside only, otherwise you’ll have a hell of a time retrieving yourself from the stratosphere . . . consider yourself warned. - Pope JTE

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