Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gentlemen Jesse & His Men 'Leaving Atlanta'

I was recently thinking how Gentleman Jesse's radiant power pop was just what I needed for the sunny season ahead, and when I heard news of a follow up to 2008's universally loved Gentleman Jesse & His Men, I also wondered, where has he been? It turns out that Jesse Smith's great new LP has been in the can for close to three years now, waiting patiently as Smith dealt with a series of personal setbacks that nearly sidelined the release, and moreover nearly sank Smith's faith in the redemptive power of rock & roll. And yet, rising like the Phoenix, Leaving Atlanta has emerged from the ruins, sounding like a triumphant kiss-off to the doldrums and downers (even if it was actually recorded before the shit hit the fan). Leaving Atlanta embodies what many already know about the band (Jesse is billed here without his Men, but it's far from a solo affair); a love for infectious hooks and meticulously crafted melodies rule. The album is made up of thirteen bittersweet numbers about love, loss and wanting -- all delivered with a whole lotta gusto. Getting the party started is the inspirational anthem "Eat Me Alive," which sees Gentleman Jesse staying true to his power-pop roots; "If you keep your head down you'll push on through, and you just might make it to the other side," Jesse hollers out alongside candied keys, elastic bass, forthright beats and chiming guitars that go on tangents of joy-filled solos. It's this upbeat attitude that fittingly denotes the bands' spunky demeanor, like on my personal highlight "You Give Me Shivers" -- if you want to know how good it feels to be sitting in a park when the sun is out as this song blasts in your headphones, well, you're just going to have to try it and see.
(written for edited by Other Music)

Find copies at Other Music

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