March 3, 2018 Jesus Jones – Perverse Turns 25
As the 1990s commenced, the Alternative music scene became commercially vibrant again, courtesy of the emergence of stylish young bands that melded elements of Electronic Dance Music with the sharp, spiky, and shiny angularity of Indie Rock, resulting in a hybrid of New Order–inspired kind of Alternative Dance music. Bands associated with this genre that flourished in the decade included EMF (“Unbelievable”), Pop Will Eat Itself (“Eat Me, Drink Me, Love Me, Kill Me”), and Jesus Jones (“Welcome Back, Victoria”).
Formed in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, England, Jesus Jones bounced into the center of the Alternative scene in the early ’90s with the trajectory of its international hit single “Right Here, Right Now,” which was included in the English band’s sophomore effort, 1991’s Doubt. In its more-than-a-decade imperial phase, the 1991 MTV Awards “Best New Artist” got to release five studio albums, from 1989’s Industrial-influenced Liquidizer to 2001’s guitar-oriented London. (A new one is forthcoming, but that is for another story.) Afterwards, the quintet went on a hiatus.
Doubt remains to be the highlight of Jesus Jones’s career, but its immediate followup – 1993’s Perverse – would have fared as well if not for the seemingly inescapable change of musical landscape as the decade progressed. But because it is celebrating its silver anniversary, Perverse deserves a keen reassessment and an affectionate reconsideration—something that eluded it back in the days.
Released on Monday, January 25, 1993, through Food/SBK Records, Perverse opened with the laser-lit Rave energy of “Zeroes and Ones.” The ensuing “Devil You May Know” was a different kind of beast – while it exuded faint echoes of the preceding album’s “International Bright Young Thing,” it certainly stood out with its Indian-inspired Psychedelic Pop, predating similar sonic trips made by the likes of Cornershop (“My Dancing Days Are Done”), Kula Shaker (“Govinda”), and Elephant Stone (“Between the Lines”). The techno-jangly “Get a Good Thing” then took the listener back to the smoky and musky dancefloor of the discothèque. And then there was the sinister sound and undulating melodies of “From Love to War.”
Jesus Jones then dove into Trip-Hop territories with the lava lamp–conjuring minimalist globules of “Yellow Brown,” after which they launched into something softly metallic in the form of “Magazine.” With the following “The Right Decision,” the band delved into something melodic and progressive, almost Art Rock and New Wave.
“Your Crusade” explored again Jesus Jones’s Industrial tendencies, owing to the dreamy synth melodies and buzzsaw-sharp guitar lines. Albeit still in the same dancey and spacey rhythm, the mood then slowed down with “Don’t Believe It.”
A sudden shift of style occurred as “Tongue Tied” played next – percussive with a hint of R&B, only to burst into shards of razor-sharp guitar strums and bouncy synth embellishments. The same dizzying and hypnotic effect flowed into the penultimate track – the ominous and cacophonic, aptly titled “Spiral.”
Finally, Jesus Jones concluded their aural perversion with the initially filmic vibes of “Idiot Stare,” which eventually transformed into an Alternative Dance stomper in the veins of New Order (“Thieves like Us”), during the legendary band’s Haçienda days.
Perverse may have not been as decidedly Pop like its successful predecessor, but it proved as cohesive, more diverse, and nonetheless compelling. It simply got swiftly sidetracked by the slew of new scene darlings that gradually arrived in the mid-’90s. So, by the time Perverse started to surf the mainstream, the ever-restless commercial spotlight had already shifted its focus onto this new batch of bands that came to represent the new faces of what became Britpop.
And now that Perverse has just turned 25, play the record and rediscover its own individual, bright, young glory…right here, right now, while you await the return of Jesus Jones—Mike Edwards (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Jerry de Borg (guitar), Al Doughty (bass), Iain Baker (keyboards), Gen (drums, percussion)—from history to currency, armed with a new addition to their band’s discography. Such a sweetly perverted rite of musical passage!