published: 25 /
Format: CD X2
Innovative and captivating latest album from the mysterious Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus, which features a limited edition extra album
“Far away across the fields the tolling of the iron bell calls the faithful to their knees.” (Pink Floyd)
It may not be an iron bell but as the opening chords of 'Avatar' ring out you can be in no doubt that you are being called to a place of healing and a place of sanctuary. Then, as the song develops, there actually is an iron bell tolling gently as the song closes.
The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus return from some hidden quiet retreat to bring not one but two new albums.
Anyone familiar with the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus will have some idea of what these new offerings might bring, especially after the wonderful 'Beauty will Save the World', but, in the words of Psalm 42, “deep calls To deep” and so 'Songs of Yearning' does not tread water but resonates with a new sense of purpose.
Seemingly in two parts prayers and mantras sit side by side. Hushed tones echo while guitars gently strum. Sometimes a cello adds a melancholy feel. The vocals are beautiful and crystal clear. Yet, as is often the case with Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus. there can be a sense of shrouded mystery and hidden knowledge. Part 2 of 'Yearning' continues drawing on a sense of ritual whispered mantras and dark drones complete the intimate sounds. Music for the soul, in the middle of a Global Pandemic, this quiet healing balm is perfect. Is it church? I don’t know but it ought to be.
While being completely contemporary, 'Songs of Yearning' offers the sense of something otherworldly that emerges as you listen. A ritual drum beats while a guitar feeds back as a choir recites a madrigal. A harp and some words in another language take you somewhere else. What is the vocalist saying? Is it a prayer or a poem?
A break from the intensity find a gentle instrumental psalm and more whispered prose enchant you.
A majestic timelessness inhabits 'Songs of Yearning'. Ancient yet modern, flashes of Orthodox Hymnals and Middle Eastern melody are never far away. 'Songs of Yearning' draws to a close with the poignant 'Prayer' complete with harmonium, cello and blackbird singing (in the dead of night?).
Sitting in silence I do not want to return to the world.
Along with 'Songs of Yearning' is a limited edition release, 'Nocturnes'. If 'Yearning' leaves you in a reflective state then 'Carry the Sun', the opening track on 'Nocturnes', which has been released as a single, has a different tone. A light and shimmering pop tune that is short and sweet and totally delightful, it has you looking upwards with hope. The deep beauty of 'Yearning' is contrasted on 'Nocturnes'. Airy ambient soundscapes and neo folky hymns are infused with a spirit of hope, no less meditative than its companion, and equally powerful. The seventh track 'Visions' is a complete surprise. It is a pulsating instrumental complete with fuzz guitar full of joy and energy that segues into a cosmic eight-minute long soundscape complete with a spoken word prayer/poem.
'Nocturnes; ends leaving a sense of mystery that only the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus can produce. Echoing voices set in a cello =0infused drone fade away into silence...I do not want to return to the world.
I am going out on a limb here and say that you will not hear anything as innovative and creative as these two albums this year. This is music to listen to. Captivating and enthralling and a totally magnificent piece of modern art.
For enhanced listening I recommend headphones, candles and some jasmine incense.
'Songs of Yearning/Nocturnes' is also available on vinyl through Occultation Recordings.
Kontaktion (for St Maria Skobtsova)
Songs of Yearning
Belonging/O Nata Lux
I Carry The Sun
Like The Waters
Near To The Beginning
Toujours Pour La Première Fois