Jeffertitti’s Nile may be one of the most eccentric bands to come on the Los Angeles scene as of late. They define their music as “transcendental space-punk doo-wop,” three ideas that may seem arbitrary at a glance, but work pretty well together when actualized. Their second full-length album, The Electric Hour, is out April 29th and it takes that definition to a new level. Recorded largely on analog tape, Jeffertitti has described it as a “sense of travel in ten-thousand directions.” This record definitely runs on its psychedelic rock vibes, but sounds more like the soundtrack to an action-packed space opera than Jefferson Airplane or the Beatles. In defining itself by putting emphasis on words that feel more literary, the project challenges the importance of more typical genre or categorization in music.
Titles like “Golden Age,” ”The Day the Sky Fell,” and the mix of sounds rapidly evoke a combination of the urban, industrial, and cosmic, though there’s not much about Jeffertitti’s Nile that is electronic. They instead combine 60s psychedelic vibes with heavy punk influence and ethereality. The “doo-wop” makes entrances in songs like “Blue Spirit Blues,” a Bessie Smith cover that lends its own unique hues to the classic. Though they are not concerned with ambience, there is still a strong sense of atmosphere in the music. The band jumps between rhythm and melody throughout the album, but they are always devoted to the idea of space. Even the titles recall some kind of special movement. “Midnight Siren” could be a ship hurtling through the darkness and a kind of screaming lullaby at the same time. The constant dynamism and fusing of musical elements works really well with something as incredibly complicated and vast as outer space.
Like most psychedelic music this is a very visual album, recalling motion through the held-out guitar notes, the ethereal background vocals. This is given focus with the “space” theme, right down to the colorful album art recalling arbitrary figures positioned in the stars. But the “punk” element is truly surprising – the quick and heavy drums that break out of the psychedelia give the intergalactic effect more human qualities. It opens up the narative of the record into something that not only transcends earth or the typical human mind set, but actively rebels against these things. Jeffertitti is serious about making themselves difficult to pin down. The “transcendent” aura shows itself in tracks like “Stay On” where wind instrument sounds temper the chaotic guitar and drums and the imagination and artistry that obviously went into the tone of the album set it apart from other acts of their ilk. The band doesn’t try very hard to make intriguing structures of rhythms; they rarely need to. If you’re intrigued by the concept, you’ll find the music mosaic enough.
Though this album doesn’t always keep your attention, it demands recognition through its rejection of musical norms. There are moments of delight and moments that take you away from reality. Give The Electric Hour a shot and listen to “Blue Spirit Blues” below: