Monday, June 9, 2014

Jeremy Irons and The Ratgang Malibus - Spirit Knife

I’ve been a fan of JIRM for a few years now.  I became hip when I reviewed their last release, Bloom, which Small Stone has re-issued.  The expectations were really high for Spirit Knife.  First and foremost, Karl Apelmo’s voice is the most underrated voice in rock and roll right now.  Why?  Well, he can be a dead ringer for Jeff Buckley.  That is good news since we aren’t going to be getting anymore Jeff Buckley records.  I hear people talking about wanting another JB here's the closest thing to it...but that is all that needs to be said about it.  I think it can be an insult if a musician or group of get talked about solely because their sound is reminiscent of someone else’s.  Then again, if you have heard Jeff Buckley, you know how much of a compliment that is and how amazing it is that anyone gets that close.  Luckily, JIRM would kick ass even if there wasn't a dead alternative icon with an operatic voice to compare them too.  They don't really sound like Jeff Buckley.  Ok....

JIRM have made a beautiful record.  Spirit Knife is much darker than Bloom.  It’s pretty heavy.  The vocals RAGE. Especially in the throat shredding opener Fog By The Steep.  I’m not one for taking apart records song by song.  That gets boring and you should listen to the record for yourself.  Let it be known: Spirit Knife does not disappoint.  It’s one big cohesive trip without any tracks under 4 minutes and most over the 5-6 minute mark.  It’s really easy to get lost in the heavy, slightly retro, psychedelic swirl that is Jeremy Irons and The Ratgang Malibu’s signature.   It’s a big step forward and it leaves me anxiously waiting for their next release.  Hopefully it comes out quicker than the three years it took to get Spirit Knife to my ears. 

--Ian Gerber

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