originally written by Chris McDonald
New Jesu EPs are always a source of excitement for me. Aside from the fact that they are one of my favorite bands and I love their music, I can’t think of any band that seems more comfortable in the EP format than Justin Broadrick and company. Sure, Jesu and Conqueror were both great full-lengths, but it’s this project’s EPs, specifically Heart Ache, Silver, and Lifeline that have really shown us all the full genius of this band.
Why Are We Not Perfect features three new songs that were originally released as a split with ambient artist Eluvium last year, along with two remixes of said songs. The release kicks off in amazing fashion with the beautiful “Farewell” which has become one of my favorite new Jesu numbers and is easily the saving grace of this EP. The song begins with spacey samples and a simplistic drum beat only to burst into an orgasmic mix of melodic bass playing and soothing electronic textures, topped off by the always mesmerizing voice of Broadrick. His singing on this song is perhaps more naked and emotional than he’s ever sounded and, despite some fans who may decry the poppy sound of the vocal effects, makes for an instantly memorable performance. “Farewell” is one of my favorite songs of the year, and with its deceptive depth and simultaneously bright and morose atmosphere, delivers everything we love about Jesu.
Unfortunately, things start to lose steam a little after the excellence with which it begins. Instrumental “Blind And Faithless,” while inoffensive and fairly enjoyable, is a pretty pointless and dull track overall. The sole riff that it repeats is sorta catchy, though it sounds kind of stale and similar to past Jesu material, but the lack of vocals and the short length makes this a largely forgettable song. “Why Are We Not Perfect?,” while still not quite excellent, is much improved from the proceeding track, with soft, pleasant vocals and keyboard flourishes complimenting the song’s driving, industrial beat. Remixes of this song and “Farewell” round off the package nicely.
Why Are We Not Perfect is a very good Jesu release, but also a slightly disappointing one. It sees the band continuing to venture even further from the metal spectrum into lush ambient rock, which means that those who stopped caring about these guys after the self-titled debut will continue to find nothing to like here, while those who have enjoyed the band’s progression will. With that said, there’s a slight air of redundancy and, dare I say it, laziness in the last two tracks here that is somewhat worrisome, and makes me hope that Broadrick isn’t burning himself out by releasing so much material. This is definitely the project’s least essential EP to date, but the relaxing atmosphere and indefinable Jesu vibe it provides means it’s still worth it for fans such as myself. If all else fails, just think of this as a glorified single for “Farewell.”