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Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus - Beauty Will Save the World

  by Keith How

published: 8 / 9 / 2015

Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus - Beauty Will Save the World
Label: Occultation Recordings
Format: LP


Otherworldly and enigmatic third album and first in twenty-four years from Liverpool-based band, the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus

“We live in a world where we are being sold things every hour of every day, but the things we truly value are not the things we are sold, but the things we discover. To that end we are content to be discovered” - The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus. There is elusive, and then there is the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus. I confess I am rather proud to own the two previous albums from RAIJ, 'The Gift of Tears' (1987) and 'Mirror' (1991), and consider them holy icons in my archives. Please bear with me as I attempt to convey something of the mysteries contained on this, only their third release. RAIJ are shrouded in mystery, never really do interviews and rarely perform live. Their music is steeped in Christian orthodoxy and iconography yet is in no way religious. Or maybe it is! They are intensely “spiritual” , sometimes unsettlingly so, and appear to be more concerned with restoration than de-construction. Not so much a band, they appear to be more a loose collective of musicians and friends referencing a search for meaning, truth and beauty. This search evolves in their recordings. 'Beauty Will Save the World' - a reference from Dostoevsky- begins with a whispered liturgy and an irregular heartbeat and from there on in the album becomes a sacred thing. You have to stop everything and let yourself become immersed in the mystery. RAIJ, although sometimes tagged “apocalyptic folk”, refuse to be compartmentalised. They choose fragments from old films, audio and musical recordings to restore and reconnect them in new and inspirational forms. The album inner sleeve tells us nothing and yet everything. A quote from mystic Thomas Merton points us towards dimmed light, meekness and hidden wholeness - elements all contained in this and the previous albums. 'Beauty Will Save the World' is an otherworldly listening experience, which is fragile and eseoteric. It is a haunting mix of chants, percussion, samples and soundscapes that gently envelope the listener into a state of reverence and wonder. 'The Bright Field' hums and crackles over the voice of R.S. Thomas reciting his poetry, a vocal drone is accompanied by flue and violin before returning to a simple “quietness.” Elsewhere bells chime, a guitar picks out notes as tribal drums beat out a hypnotic rhythm. 'A Crowd of Stars' is magical, combining haunting vocals and a simple backing of violin and piano . Truly a liturgy for our times, RAIJ have produced something unique that allows you to see the world with different eyes.

Track Listing:-
1 Song of the Soul
2 All is Grace
3 Après le temps
4 The Bright Field
5 After the End
6 Procession
7 Suspended on a Cross
8 A Crowd of Stars
9 Repentance/Sama
10 Before the Ending of the Day

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