Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter: Marble Son


JJesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter is an electrified Americana band that fell in with the underground metal crowd. After recent collaborations with SunO))) and Boris the band is set to release Marble Son, a sprawling and dark collection of heavy lyrical ruminations and searing guitar workouts played with an eerie, fierce energy.  “Hushed by Devotion” opens the album by sweeping in with eight minutes of dynamic psych rock. Thrusting forward with a combination of these weighty and cryptic lyrics and an epic, space metal vs. The Allman Brothers sound, the album gets off to a scorching start. Soon enough the title track introduces the loud, quiet, loud dynamic that becomes the record’s hallmark. By juxtaposing these sounds the band displays its power to carry the listener on a multi-layered journey into inner and outer space. Sykes showcases a strangely disconcerting voice throughout, a delicate falsetto that she swells into the stratosphere. Depth and ambiance come from the band’s accompanying high harmonies cloaked in reverb and an ability to turn out elegiac acoustic guitar passages.

“Pleasuring the Divine” rumbles with a rugged, heavy swing before a piercing guitar solo turns the song into a vibrant, Hawkwind-like, progressive rock experiment. Maintaining the aural contrasts, the song drops into a plaintively dark lullaby that feels unsettling. “Weight of Cancer” sounds like the psychological struggle of uncertainty. By painting outside the lines with layered communication between each musician, the mood is tense and jarring, a little bit of Black Sabbath with prettier guitars. There is ferocity to Phil Wandscher’s slash and burn guitar style as if he is desperately trying to exorcise demons and find heaven at the same time.

“Your Own Kind” brings a Pink Floyd feel to the proceedings, playing like a eulogy. Experimenting within fairly traditional rock song structures allows The Sweet Hereafter to produce a sound that feels as if they are exploring the divide between this life and the next. With a controlled abandon, songs twist and turn into mini-epics that make them perfect touring companions for their contemporary kindred souls in Brooklyn’s Graveyard.

Throughout this gorgeous collection of music Sykes’ voice crisscrosses the paper-thin rift between deep pain and true bliss, enabling songs to drift into the ether in between. Slower moments build with a creepy, meandering flow before bursts of swirling psychedelic rock attack that would make Comets on Fire proud. This is heavy.

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