A Little Death (Washington Square Music)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 15, 2016
To paraphrase: Rock isn't dead, it just smells funny. Frank Zappa spoke of jazz at the time, but its blues offshoot cousin today lacks any sort of bleeding edge, which then lends the format a peculiar odor. My Jerusalem, the Austin quartet led by the nearly always brooding Jeff Klein, isn't reinventing the genre, but they imbue it with a much-needed sense of danger in a style splitting the difference between Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Echo & the Bunnymen. A Little Death falls in line with the group's two previous LPs, and Klein's meaty solo work that preceded those, yet it's more fully realized in its dark intensity and broadly painted soundscapes. The title turns on the French term for orgasm, yet thematically it concerns itself with the consequences of the real-life passing of Klein's mother, fate and luck colliding head-on. The murky, yet strutting "Young Leather" leads off, "Dominoes" possesses a hooky chorus that defies its serious rage, and the Spanish Harlem beats and full-on Phil Spectorish production of "No One Gonna Give You Love" moves toward Willy DeVille in a manner that's completely new for My Jerusalem.