Listen to/buy God Is You My Brothers, My Sisters
OK, so The Symbolick Jews have never been a particularly polished band. Their music crashes around recklessly, bumping into and knocking over your grandmother's precious music genres like an autistic 5 year old whose twisted uncle thought it would be fun to slip booze to at Thanksgiving. But it's that very same recklessness that makes The Symbolick Jews an absolute blast to listen to. Perhaps it's because they've never had the same lineup on two albums. Perhaps it's because they never take themselves terribly seriously, and it usually shows...but once in a while they'll write a song like "Book of Love" (from their debut Confession Time) that is so heart-wrenchingly genuine, you can't help but sit straight up and wonder "Wait, what band is this again?"
Just recently the Symbolick Jews embarked on their third North American tour, heading South through California, East into Arizona and eventually wrapping things up in Texas. In typical Symbolick fashion, they also quietly released their third LP (2nd this year), entitled God Is You My Brothers, My Sisters. However, the music here is anything but quiet. It's ballsy, it's sweaty,
it's completely rambunctious. The songs that aren't are brooding, hypnotic slow-burners that steadily build in intensity until everything collapses under the pressure. Actually, most of the songs end like that.
It's at this point that I am haunted by the fact that I never wrote about their 2nd album, Can I Trust You. I'd like to make all sorts of comparisons...like how God Is You strips away the vocoders and many of the electronic trappings that made their previous LP so weird and unique, instead returning the band to their raw rock roots (say that 10 times fast). But I can't (to either). All I can do is recommend you check out Can I Trust You, encourage you to make your own comparisons, and beg your forgiveness for my oversight.
God Is You begins with a bang, as lazily crashing waves of guitar provide context for a wailing singer who is "so f*#&king tired". This is no hazy, bleary-eyed dirge, a la The Beatles' "I'm So Tired", but rather the sound of a band waking up, making coffee, plugging in and preparing to rock. The Jews then proceed to launch into a Dadaist/Krautrock workout in the hypnotic "He Got a Job" (which spurned the band's very first music video, in which everyone pees on each other).
The Symbolick Jews are the paranoid, babbling voices in your head...and this time there are more voices than ever. Frontman Adam Healton shares vocal duties with at least 5 others, which seems to take a bit of pressure off of him, and because of this the whole band sounds like it's having a lot more fun. In fact, this is their first album that really seems like a true communal effort.
Other noteworthy tracks include "I'm Lucky", which is a fuzzy, blissed out guitar-driven song about being grateful to wake up next to that special someone, and "I Got To You", which quite possibly is the band's catchiest song to date, with "lead" singer Adam's unique voice blending wonderfully with one of three female singers scattered on this LP. If you're more into the avant-garde, Symbolick Jews have got you covered with the brief, unclassifiable freakouts "Sly's Salad Bar", "A Rare Hope", and in typically-lengthy album closer fashion, the crazy 14 minute epic "Peace Be With You".
God Is You certainly rewards repeated listenings, as drummer/producer Brian Davy has seen to it that each track is a dense forest of sound, populated with subtle electronics mixed just low enough so as to make listening with headphones a real treat. My hat goes off to Adam, Brian and the rest of the Symbolick Jews...whoever they are this time around. They've crafted a loose-yet-focused masterpiece that few other bands could convincingly pull off. The Symbolick Jews are a wild beast with a heart of gold, and here's hoping they'll never be tamed. -Matt