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Saturday, 14 October 2017
JUJU - OUR MOTHER WAS A PLANT (Fuzz Club LP, CD, D/L).
It’s been cool watching how Sicilian multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti’s JuJu project has evolved and developed over the last few years…………….originally nurtured on the exquisite American boutique label Sunrise Ocean Bender, the debut JuJu album emerged early 2016 and it’s mix of squalling Psych Rock, Krautrock and more Mediterranean/African influences saw the record widely hailed as one of the best, most innovative Psych albums of the year with it’s reputation spreading like wildfire among the hardcore PsychHead community. The next step was to assemble a band to play the album out live…………….the JuJu live experience is simply stunning and the mind blowing set at the recent Liverpool Psych Fest was one of the highlights of the weekend. With their finger always on the pulse, the influential Fuzz Club have never been slow in spotting talent and Valenti has signed to the label for the release of the sophomore JuJu LP Our Mother Was A Plant………..carrying on in its predecessor’s footsteps, the new LP is a continuation of JuJu’s ritualistic sonic exploration into the cultural implications of the ongoing refugee crisis and humanities increasingly strained relationship with Mother Earth. As for the influences behind the album, Gioele explains: "Our Mother Was A Plant is inspired by the great psychedelic researchers and plant explorers active - including Timothy Leary, William Burroughs, Jim Morrison, Terence McKenna, Jeremy Narby and many others. People who managed to reveal the secret mechanism of the unconscious tied to the natural world that surrounds us, and from which we are definitely separated. Every separation, every neurosis, sexism, racism, speciesism, violence, terrorism comes from this division that the human being has operated between himself and the biosphere”.
Sonically there is very little change in the JuJu signature sounds forged on the first album. The pulverizing bass lines, heavily-reverbed guitars, textured walls of sound, gospel drones and crooning vocals are all present and correct and with its rhythmic, otherworldly psychedelia alternating between the Teutonic sheen of Neu! and the funky Afro-Beat rhythms from Western Africa, Our Mother Was A Plant summons all kinds of spirits from down town Lagos to the neon lit streets of Dusseldorf. It’s the exploration of African/Mediterranean influences that makes JuJu stand apart from the endless Psych bands still channelling the, albeit classic, sound of Hawkwind, CAN and the Stooges, featuring a guest appearance from Capra Informis (the masked djembe player in Swedish Psych titans Goat), JuJu's second album takes you well off the beaten track into uncharted Psychedelic spheres. With it’s nagging Krautrock groove and swirling guitars, ‘Death By Beautiful Things’ is the starting point for JuJu’s latest adventure………..it’s a slowburner of a record as tracks slowly unfold into strange and beautiful shapes on Gioele Valenti’s sonic canvas with the standout tracks being the funky Gospel tinged ‘And Play A Game’, the Afro-Beat inspired ‘I Got Your Soul’ and the massive Goat style grooves of the tracks featuring Capra Informis (‘In A Ghetto’ and ‘Sunny After Moon’. Again Gioele Valenti has produced another peerless record (following the debut JuJu album couldn't have been easy) that may even be better than the first and is no doubt one of this year’s essential LPs. For existing fans of the supremely talented Gioele Valenti Our Mother Is A Plant is not going to disappoint……….for those of you that have yet to wrap your ears around the JuJu experience, you really need to check this out.
Our Mother Is A Plant is out NOW on Fuzz Club and available as a limited edition LP release, CD and as a download from all the best record shops, groovy online retailers and directly from the Fuzz Club website.