Album Reviews

Jeniferever – Spring Tides

(Monotreme) UK release date: 20 April 2009

Jeniferever have been floating around on the peripheries for some time now. Since 2002 they’ve only released one album (the simply stunning Choose A Bright Morning) and a smattering of EPs. But it’s in the live arena where they’ve made the most ground. Seemingly endless touring has garnered them a considerable swell of fans, and it’s easy to see why. Jeniferever deal in huge, luxuriant soundscapes that soothe and bruise in equal measure and that rarely fail to delight.

They may well “fade in gently” on the majority of their songs but there is always a sucker punch, a forceful swell or very occasionally, a torrent of noise that slowly builds to sweep the listener along with them. In a live setting, it’s a sure fire winner as you feel your bones slowly start to quiver under the skin as Jeniferever start to move from delicate melody to pummelling tumult. On record, it’s a far harder trick to pull off and one that they actually seem to have side-stepped in favour of simply letting the delicate arrangements do all the work, rather than simply relying on the quiet/loud dynamic that so many bands hammer to death.

So the likes of St Gallen never really explode. Instead they smoulder for the duration, building and releasing in pulses, ebbing and flowing like the tiny breakers on a flat sea. Spring Tides makes sense as a name; so many of the songs here are built around simple ideas, atmospherics and tempos rather than sudden changes in tone and volume. There are no tsunamis here – and yet this is an album far from being in the doldrums.

If the vocals weren’t such an important element of the structures, you’d be inclined to suggest that Jeniferever were a straightforward post-rock band. But there’s more going on here than that moniker might suggest. If Sweden were lacking a band in the Sigur Ros mould, then they have found one in the shape of Jeniferever. They are as accomplished and as effective as their Icelandic counterparts and, with a bit of luck, they’ll gain the support needed to build on their obvious talents, without having to wait years for offers to put records out.

Spring Tides is not really an album that you can break down into solitary tracks. Once you’ve slipped under the surface of the wistful guitars of Green Meadow Island you never want to come back again. The addition of horns to Nangijala makes it stand out individually, but you’d be better off picking up the EP on which it first appeared. Amongst the other songs of Spring Tides it only serves to pull you further under the hypnotic spell of Jeniferever.

Only The Hourglass steps outside of Jeniferever’s usual approach, coming on like a stadium rock ballad – or as close as this band is likely to get to one. Motorik drumbeats, and guitars that wouldn’t sound out of place on a U2 record make it stick out like a sore thumb, and that’s before it goes racing off into a turbo charged ending that is all about rattling basslines and squalls of guitars.

Jonson’s voice hangs over the band like a phantom radio broadcast, slipping out of the air and finding a home in your fillings. It’s the most invigorating moment on the album and one that almost pulls you up and out of the band’s spell, filling your lungs with fresh air. But there’s still the bumpy ride of Ring Out The Grief and the stargazing of Spring Tides to go, so it’s back under for just a little while longer.

Ring Out The Grief is occasionally frantic, with beautiful piano lines being undermined by drilling guitars. It’s not long before the band return to their more mournful setting though, the guitars echoing like the last chords played at the close of the season at the end of a pier. Spring Tides reaches for the sky, the strings swamped in delay and something that makes them sound as if they’re being beamed in from space – the same part of space that Buck Rogers inhabits.

And then it’s time to leave Jeniferever’s world. For about three seconds, until you reach for the remote and start the whole thing off again. These Spring Tides lap at a place too beautiful too leave behind.

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Jeniferever – Spring Tides