It feels like a million years ago since I was sitting in the green room at Lincoln Hall interviewing Young Jesus. They were a Chicago band on the rise, playing a release show for their album Home (or maybe it was just the release of the single “Fallin’ For You”), and I was just happy to be there in the room. They were really sweet and their music was really good and I was excited to watch what I expected to be their meteoric rise.
It didn’t quite happen like that, and I was, as usual, perplexed as to why more people weren’t getting on board. Whatever the reason was, Home didn’t hit the mainstream like I (to this day) think it should have. The band moved around a bit. A side project called Bummer put out some good tunes, but also didn’t get the recognition it deserved. And then three years ago Young Jesus was back and signed with Saddle Creek.
2017 brought about a self-titled album that found the band entering a different direction, which they started to follow with Grow/Decompose in 2015. It was raw and dark and full of possibilities. Now it’s 2020, the year possibilities walk the plank and drown. But, Young Jesus is here to shed some light on our darkest timeline with a new album, Welcome To Conceptual Beach.
“Magicians,” the album closer and most recent single, could be a full EP all its own. The song runs 10 minutes and features more dynamic changes than you get in some whole albums. John Rossiter’s sweet vocal delivery provides you a constant through this journey. The ideas are simple and universal, not asking much of the listener but to sit back and let the words and music wash over you. Like a great movie, the themes are there on the surface. Your reward for making it through to the end is a feeling of enlightenment about the world and people around you.
I have to be honest, I don’t find myself often saying “Yeah this song really gets good around the eight-minute mark,” but here we are. As a hush falls and Rossiter starts whispering the lyrics in your ear, like a secret between two lovers, and then the guitar and drums slam against the final lyric…it’s breathtaking.
Welcome To Conceptual Beach comes out August 14th. You can pre-order it here. I would recommend getting it from Saddle Creek, but the limited edition purple vinyl is already gone. If you have a good indie record store near you, they might have a green and white marbled vinyl (limited to 150 copies, so better get to the record store early).