It's hard to speak about unspeakable things - violence, abuse, addiction and abandonment; especially when these things rupture the innocence of childhood. But one of the merits of Luke Jenner's new solo project is that he not only speaks of these things but he does so in a way that wrests them from the dark, small cubicle of shame, placing them firmly in the light so that we, as listeners and fellow survivors, can start to maybe walk with our head high. In this moment of empty pop music séance, the scope and ends of this project - to try and help people - feels almost revelatory.
Revelatory is the right word here in that it carries with it, of course, the sense of religious or spiritual insight. As front man for the legendary post-punk NYC band, The Rapture (a band name that already attests to Jenner's abiding faith and interest in the force of spiritual reckoning), Jenner has never shied away from his belief in God, community, family - all as a means of recovering the fractured x of y. How Deep is Your Love, Grace… But while those The Rapture records flirted with these themes, Jenner's album 1 fully embraces them. 1 is commanding yet generous in its vision. It follows Jenner's personal history - from the trauma of child abuse in his family to the happiness he seeks in his own family now and in the community of survivors that sustain him - within the context of rock history and the music that sustained him there as well.
All Things Must Pass by George Harrison (also invested in spiritual belonging) comes to mind, as does Daniel Johnston, who literally heard voices which he put to music. Jenner's project too insists on polyvocality, from his own voice that splits between utter pain and despair to almost spiraling, nectarean harmonies, to the community of family, friends and sponsors that Jenner samples and adds to the record like a church choir.
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