A few years back, when I got the idea to first start hosting shows, I reached out to a few of my favourite local bands along with a little-known California psych act by the name of Jeffertitti’s Nile who happened to be making their way through town. Having only heard their seven song EP, Hypnotic River of Sound, I had no idea what their live performance would be like or even how they might look. But when they walked through the front gates of the Church of the Electric Dirt dressed halfway between pranksters and members of Hendrix’s band, it was plain to the eye that these individuals were not of this earthly realm.
Jeffertitti’s Nile describe themselves as “transcendental space-punk doo wop,” and it’s rather fitting. The songs on their new LP, The Electric Hour, seamlessly venture between moments of thrashing chaos and blissful, dream-like warmth. “Blue Spirit Blues,” the Bessie Smith cover that opens the album, vibrates with that chaos, finding leadman Jeffertitti Moon howling over a bed of raved up noise. At the chorus, however, tempos slow and the vocals stretch out, allowing for just a moment of breathing room before Mr. Moon is howling again and you’re back in his space punk grips. It’s a masterful work of tension and release that permeates throughout the entire album.
The best example of this chaotic transcendence is “No One,” an anthemic song that scowls with a staccato guitar line before giving way to what is perhaps the most beautiful moment of the entire album. It’s almost as if the music is tumbling down a jagged mountain that eventually leads into a waterfall, gracefully flowing into a perfectly calm and serene river. But as is the theme of this hour, the river is just a brief plateau before you hit the rocks and start tumbling again.
Recorded during breaks between tours with Father John Misty (for whom Jeffertitti plays bass and sings), the album’s creation process also followed a theme of spontaneity. Written while on the road and while in LA living in various rented rooms–taking baths and making smoothies–Jeffertitti cut the album straight to tape with a family of musicians in a number of studios around California. There’s still a certain lo-fi murk to the sound, but a far cry from that heard on the previous EP.
But if The Electric Hour finds its best moments in its sonic eclecticism, then its main fault is the lack of cohesiveness between songs. In many ways, it sounds like it was recorded at different times, with different musicians. Every song stands out on its own, but few stand together. Maybe that’s just part of the risk of having a day job. One only hopes that Jeffertitti can find the time to make this his main focus.
The Electric Hour comes out April 29th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond.