No-Man - Returning Jesus

Year of Release: 2001
Label: 3rd Stone Records
Catalog Number: Stone 038 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:02:00

If there is one bloody hard thing to do in this life (you'll have to excuse the "bloody," this is an English band I'm reviewing), it is to be objective. Forget about being objective when it comes to liking a band's music or not, we all know that's impossible. What I'm talking about is digging into the lush atmospheres of No-Man's latest album a couple of weeks after Porcupine Tree's Lighbulb Sun left me awestruck and blocking the chorus of "Four Chords That Made A Million" from my mind while telling myself that this is another band. Certainly a very important process, as No-Man is in an entirely different ballpark, and if it wasn't for Steven Wilson's key participation here, the words "Porcupine Tree" would have never jumped into my mind.

That's right; don't expect Porcupine Tree 2 rearing its ugly head on Returning Jesus, because it's not going to happen. This is, after all, No-Man. You've basically got two culprits: Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness. You've got a piece of evidence: an atmospheric, relaxed, half-trippy half-poppy record. You've got the details: nine songs, a host of invited musicians, and a unique sound. You've got good news: Returning Jesus is, for the most part, worth your time.

An album that engages solely in spacey atmospheres, sustained noises and notes, an almost somnolent pace, and Bowness' relaxing croon, No-Man's newest is the kind of record one puts on when wishing to drift slowly into pleasant sleep. Moreover, the way the instruments are sprinkled across the record's entire duration function as a pleasant anesthetic dream that floats gently for nearly an hour, avoiding any abrupt surprises in favor of the inescapable quality of relaxed atmospheric webs of sound. Put simply: you better get ready to fly. Not in the LSD-driven space rock style, mind you, but rather in a semiconscious flow of thought that slowly takes hold of your entire being.

The album, however, is not quite flawless, as the pace does get to be a bit tiresome at times and things get a tad too sugar-coated on tracks like "Carolina Skeletons." But if it's of any comfort, others like "Returning Jesus" and "Outside The Machine" turn the sonic kaleidoscope around and erase the temporary annoyance. Actually, they pretty much make one wonder whether this isn't the healthiest alternative to marihuana ever created. I'd say it is.

Only Rain (7:24) / No Defence (5:20) / Close Your Eyes (8:25) / Carolina Skeletons (5:08) / Outside The Machine (5:48) / Returning Jesus (5:19) / Slow It All Down (3:42) / Lighthouse (8:12) / All That You Are (4:44)

Tim Bowness - vocals
Steven Wilson -instruments
Colin Edwin - bass and double bass
Steve Jansen - drums
Ian Carr - trumpet (1)
Ben Christophers - acoustic guitar (1, 7)
Ian Dixon - trumpet ( 2) and flugelhorn (3, 7)
Rick Edwards - percussion (3)
David Kosten - synthesizer and cymbal (1)
Theo Travis - sax (7) and flute (8)

Swagger (cass ep, oop) (1989)
Days In The Trees (ep oop) (1991)
Lovesighs - An Entertainment (mini-album) (1992)
Sweetheart Raw (ep) (1993)
Speak: 1988-89 (cass album) (1993)
Loveblows & Lovecries - A Confession (1993)
Flowermouth (1994/1999/2005)
Flowermix (cass remix, oop) (1995)
Heaven Taste (comp) (1995)
Flowermix (expanded cd version) (1995)
Housewives Hooked On Heroin (ep) (1996)
Wild Opera (1996)
Dry Cleaning Ray (1997)
Carolina Skeletons (ep) (1998)
Returning Jesus (2001)
All That You Are (ep) (2003)
Together We're Stranger (2003/2005/2007)
The Break-Up For Real (ep) (2007)
Schoolyard Ghosts (2008)
Whereever There Is Light (ep)(2009)

Genre: Other

Origin UK

Added: November 17th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 1130
Language: english


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