Jess And The Ancient Ones - The Horse And Other Weird Tales album review

Finland’s psych visionaries pass the acid test

Cover art for Jess And The Ancient Ones - The Horse And Other Weird Tales album

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Finland’s ever-reliable masters of murky psychedelia return with album number three – a heady collection of grooving freak beat, pulsing lysergic pop and powerful, sultry vocal incantations. The band once again celebrate the darker side of 60s counterculture and The Horse And Other Weird Tales – recorded with the band’s live engineer for a more organic and human approach – is cut between a series of creepy Summer Of Love-era pharmacological documentary samples and perfectly conjures up imagery and atmospherics of infamous West Coast-style Acid Tests and dusty occult libraries. Its 31 minutes of swirling Hammond organ, and Mellotron-driven passages weave around a dreamily throbbing rhythm section, filled with plenty of quirky rhythmic shifts and unexpected tempo changes, suddenly transporting the listener from hypnotic states of moody stoned introspection to soaring, soulful wails and fuzzed-out lead guitar only to realign for some jaunty, angular workouts. JATAO are one of the more uniquely authentic bands sucking in the 60s/70s sounds without resorting to cheesy, clichéd horror film pageantry and, unlike cohorts Jex Thoth or Blood Ceremony, the band explore their esoteric subject matter with a sunny and accessible, playful approach.