Doug Jerebine Is Jesse Harper
It sounds too good to be true — and indeed, when I heard about it, I half-assumed it was an elaborate hoax. Check it:
The year is 1968. A Maori guitar god of Hendrix-ian proportions leaves his native New Zealand for Swinging London, where he hooks up with an English drummer and records an album’s worth of acid-fried six-string workouts. He comes close to a deal with Atlantic Records, but instead drops out and heads to India. The tapes remain unreleased … until now!
Can Doug Jerebine Is Jesse Harper possibly live up to such a story? Of course not! Is the album pretty rad anyway? Yes!
There is acetate crackle a-plenty throughout the album’s 10 tracks, but the raw power of the music comes through loud and clear. Fleet-fingered and enamored of distortion, one is tempted to simply label Jerebine a Hendrix acolyte, but the music is so contemporaneous that it’s probably more accurate to call him a kindred spirit than an imitator. The whole thing kicks off in righteous fashion with the riff-tastic “Midnight Sun,” as Jerebine wrangles monstrous notes out of his axe over a seething bed of phased-out drums and undulating wah-wah. “Everything is magnified! No place to run, no place to hide,” he drawls. The last minute or so is devoted to a free-form freak out. Ah, 1968.
Things aren’t necessarily “freaky” the whole time, though — Jerebine mellows out a lil bit with the country rock of “Fall Down” and the easygoing lope of “Ashes and Matches.” But it’s the psych-rock stuff that’ll grab you — like the self-destructo jam at the end of “Ain’t So Hard To Do,” or how “Good New Blues” sounds kinda like Damo Suzuki fronting Canned Heat. I know, I know, how could a record live up to such a description? Well, check it out and see.