Come the turn of the millennium, anyone fortunate enough to have seen Lift To Experience live will have witnessed a fearsome roar of shuddering intensity, delivered by three scary-looking Texans with beards as long as their songs. That apocalyptic power was duly loaded into 2001’s The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, a shattering concept album in which the Lone Star State was an end-of-days Promised Land crawling with Biblical visions; a place where the sustained drone of My Bloody Valentine met free-form noise-rock in an epic sheet-wave of sound.
What’s more, it was a very real piece of psycho-geography, at least for those who made it. Both frontman Josh ‘Buck’ Pearson and drummer Andy ‘The Boy’ Young were sons of southern preachers, raised in deeply religious households in which God was a dual symbol of beauty and terror, lending the album a visceral charge that served as the band’s proof of existence. You can hear this conflict all over tracks like Down With The Prophets and the 10-minute With Crippled Wings, pieces that feel like titanic struggles of faith as much as like conventional tunes.
The band blew apart – undone by drugs, booze and familial grief – shortly after the release of The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, relegating Lift To Experience to the province of one-album wonders, although last year they reconvened for the Meltdown Festival.
This exhaustive reissue includes their self-titled EP from 1997 and a bunch of Herculean tracks from their second John Peel session, the most impressive being a rumbling Falling From Cloud 9.