No young band on their first outing deserves to be saddled with the ridiculous hyperbole that Jensen were by one commentator, so it won’t be repeated here. I should say though that if I had heard this about seven years ago I’d have said they’d missed the boat by a couple of years. But now? Shit, this is practically retro. Which considering we are talking metal and industrial influenced electronic music is kind of weird. And also they will be standing in a void they can make their own. I mean Nine Inch Nails took to their pipe and slippers about a decade ago so why not?
Opening track ‘Ghosts’, hits with a distortion of keyboards and drum machine with that low down rumble that immediately throws me back in time to when I picked up the 10″ single ‘Head Like A Hole ‘ but with the angry brooding replaced by the rock/metal attack of unsung jagged twitch electro-rockers Stabbing Westward. It’s an odd bit of tangled, repetitious noise with distorted vocals and damn if it doesn’t work. It kind of feels like the band coiling up, waiting to strike.
Not sure if ‘The Corruptor’ is quite the lashing out that it needs as the follow up, though. The vocals sound so damned young it’s hard for them to carry the gravitas or the ‘seen it all’ weariness the lyrics seem to want to push and it’s musical swing needs a few kilos more lead in the glove to impact as it should. Not bad though, not bad at all. ‘Stars’ though I can do without if I’m honest; way too emo gone pop for me and the lyrics need work to pull them out of a trite hole but nothing a dose of William Gibson’s skies the colour of dead televisions wouldn’t fix (and if you dont know that….). And then there’s the cover of Wild Boys: Inexplicable. YouTube seems to like it, but it always was a naff pop song with naff lyrics to me, Duran Duran trying too hard to be a rock band and falling flat on their faces. Jensen’s version is better, much better. They have added an edge, and even an emotional tone utterly lacking in the original so huge kudos there but for me it’s still rubbish source material. A genuinely interesting, rhythmic remix of ‘Ghosts’ ends the EP.
There is, amongst the early NIN worship a lot to like here. ‘Ghosts’ works in both versions and ‘The Corruptor’ has real promise. The decision will between that direction and the pop sensibilities of the other tracks and the possible lure of commercial success with an audience too young too young to know the originals but eager to chomp down on anything the digital world has to offer.
It’s an odd one: I never get handed stuff by a young band who I reckon have a genuine chance at commercial, even mainstream success and my gut tells me Jensen have that (jeez, even the name is screaming at the mainstream). Me? I’d up the anger and energy. Get dirty, go faster. Grab a copy of Stabbing Westward’s ‘Wither Blister Burn & Peel’ and rock out. But I never made any money in my life from my art, did I?
Whatever they choose, I wish them well as there is a real talent here and ambition, and they know the power of a chorus too. The mark below only reflects my thoughts on an EP of two halves, not a calamitous recording by any means.
Which half to go with? Decision time, lads. Good luck.