Glass Neck by JungfrauRelease date: October 21, 2017
With their debut album, Nacht, Brighton based band Jungfrau carved a space for themselves within the new UK psych scene by taking inspiration from Germany and krautrock, rather than Spaceman 3 as everyone else seemed to be doing at the time. Hitching a ride on tour with Taman Shud, they spread their word across the country, attracting more than a few fans and setting themselves out as “ones to watch”. With sophomore album Glass Neck, it seems the time has come to cash that good will in and prove that they really can be a band for the future.
It’s interesting to note how much deeper this album sounds from Nacht. Having honed their sound in numerous gigs, they have also found the bravery to explore different areas in their music, with the result being an intriguing mix of kraut psych and goth. It’s in the way they get those two genres to work together that makes Glass Neck such an exciting album.
Opening track ‘Oysters and Jewels’ creeps out at you in an almost sickening swirl of ethereal noise, and devastating drops into nothingness. A queasy see-sawing of the senses plays out, as the band aim for maximum displacement from reality yet once they worm their way into your mind, you feel the incessant bug disturb your balance and bring you in as one with the music. It’s a brave choice as opener, but demonstrates a confidence in the band, which can only help as they go further.
For all the wonderfully psychedelic weirdness of ‘Oysters and Jewels’, it is ‘Tell Us To Be Good’ which surprises the most. Steeped in the gothic cobwebs of early 4AD and Siouxsie, its an unnerving attack on the senses as vocals drift from lilting sweetness to raging anger. Hannah Grasskamp is completely in charge as she leads you down the places that you really shouldn’t be looking. A song oiled in desperation, with a backdrop of colliding drums and foreboding guitars.
‘I Lie All The Time’ continues this creeping darkness albeit in a much straighter manner. Shorn of the more trippier aspects, the song is a clarion call of bleakness, led on by a marching synth. Its understated poetic vocals leading to a rather abrupt end as it leads into final track ‘Jungflower’. There’s an almost cinematic resonance to the moment, building on the more literary pretensions that shine through the lyrics. It’s almost a world apart from that opening track, yet still retains that sense of belonging to the same family. That displacement that had set in, has settled you down elsewhere.
Whilst you can sense the literary aspects to this album, this is no sixth form poetry session as is the way when we find ourselves heading down the dark, cobwebby passages of goth. Here it is much more subdued and deeper. The lyrics are almost direct in their delivery, and it’s left to the music to play off this and lead you down the weirder routes. It all builds into something of a unique album from a very unique band. Jungfrau are a band to watch and with music which is equal parts disturbing, ethereal, beautiful and psychedelic, you will want to stay the distance with them.