Is Jeffertitti’s Nile truly a band – or are they a state mind? This new album, The Electric Hour, (the band’s second full-length) confirms that if this is a band, that band is driven by the state of mind of Jeffertitti himself, the heart and hammer behind the sound of and spirit of The Electric Hour.
The Electric Hour is clearly powered by as much diversity as can be found in all of California, the titular home of Jeffertitti. Still, the concept of a home doesn’t capture the album’s sense of exploration, a sense of movement perhaps owing to the fact that The Electric Hour in a decidedly non-linear fashion.
Recorded in the breaks between tours with Father John Misty (a friend for whom Jeffertitti plays bass and sings), the album took shape in a variety of studios, with an extended family of musicians, including Josh Tillman (Father John Misty/Fleet Foxes) himself, who plays drums on the bulk of the album. Recorded largely on analog tape, most of The Electric Hour was recorded in Ojai, California, at the studio of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, while other parts were recorded at Jazz Cats in Long Beach, the studio run by Jonny Bell from The Crystal Antlers’ (who shows up playing saxophone on one song). Still more was recorded in downtown Los Angeles, at Seahorse Sound.
As an album, The Electric Hour embodies a sense of travel in the ten-thousand directions. Its mesmerizing sound indicative not only of Jeffertitti’s commitment to life-as-tour (which sometimes includes life-living-in-a-van, a van called “Shevanigans”) but of their ability to sound – and be – completely at home no matter their coordinates, sonically or universally-speaking.
From the opening charge of “Blue Spirit Blues” to the nearly ten minute – and not a second wasted – “The Day the Sky Fell,” The Electric Hour is a complete circuit, not blurring the lines between artist and listener, between giver and receiver, as much as it declares the lines to have never existed in the first place.
“Transcendental Space-Punk Doo Wop” was once declared to be the name of this boundless sound, by the authority of Jeffertitti himself. And that’s the truth – or more accurately, the truth is that Jeffertitti’s Nile sound exactly like Jeffertititti, his friendships, his path and his vision. It couldn’t sound any other way.
Rather than being consumed by the long path to The Electric Hour – by the energy, the charge of positive and negative – Jeffertitti’s Nile is nourished by it. And so are you. — Ryan Muldoon