Jennifer Gentle: The Midnight Room

By: Sarah Moore

Italian psychedelic rockers Jennifer Gentle released a disc mid-2007, and while it didn’t receive tons of acclaim, the album keeps making an appearance in the ol’ CD player. Live Jennifer Gentle involves five members but the studio disc is solely the work of Marco Pasolo. The quirkily dismal sound recalls Mr. Bungle or They Might Be Giants, but The Midnight Room (Sub Pop) has its own thing going.

Recorded in Northern Italy in a house once owned by a rifle suicide victim, Room has an eerie vibe that goes beyond its minor chords and dissonant harmonies. Pasolo’s impish vocals creep over rigid drumming throughout most of the disc, and most tracks follow a similar formula. “The Ferryman” conjures images of beasts from hell summoning tender souls with a classic Baptist organ and borderline Gregorian chants. What sounds like hand bells and angelic voices further emphasizes the track’s darkly religious Gothic tone. The song title perhaps comes as an epithet for Virgil as he leads Dante to the underworld in The Divine Comedy, especially given the band’s Italian heritage. This idiosyncratic Sub Pop album is filled with both aural and intellectual treats, so don’t miss out on it.

JamBase | Mediterranean
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[Published on: 2/9/08]

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