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Perel - Jesus Was an Alien Music Album Reviews

Armed with arpeggiated synths, electro-disco drum machines, and some light heresy, the German electronic musician sets her sights on dancefloor provocation, but too often, she’s preaching to the choir.

The world of electronic music loves extravagant concepts, and Perel may have taken this year’s prize for outlandish thinking. On Jesus Was an Alien, her follow-up to 2018’s Hermetica, on DFA, the German electronic musician and DJ asks a question worthy of late-night cable programming—Was Jesus actually an extra-terrestrial?—while ostensibly fostering “a social debate about what is and implies religion today,” weighty themes that make dance music’s shopworn tales of getting down and occasionally dirty pale in comparison. Add to this a mischievous sense of humor—the album’s cover depicts Perel suckling a baby alien to her breast—and you have what should be one of most entertaining dance music releases of the year.

Sadly, Jesus Was an Alien falls short in its ambition. Perhaps it’s unreasonable to expect divine revelation from an album of synth-heavy techno pop on one of Germany’s more reliably industrious labels. But despite its grand setup, Jesus Was an Alien comes across as shallow and rather innocuous. Perel’s production is undoubtedly bright and punchy, but the basic combination of arpeggiated synth riffs and electro-disco drum machines has been around since “I Feel Love,” and there are no new tangles or grit to distinguish the album from the work of thousands of tech-house journeymen. The lyrical themes, too, are rather gray: The tedious “Religion” simply repeats the phrase “Schau mich an!” (“Look at me!” in German)—perhaps potent stuff back in 1517, when Martin Luther was nailing his “Ninety-five Theses” to Wittenberg church doors, but unlikely to blow many minds in an era grappling with simulation hypothesis, string theory, and AI. The lyrics of “The Principle Of Vibration” add basically nothing to an intriguing song title; and does anyone really need another song about The Matrix, three sequels down?

This wouldn’t matter if the music on Jesus Was an Alien was more spirited, but the album’s production rarely ventures beyond the competent. Perel claims to feel “emotions and colors piling up inside me” as a result of her synesthesia, but the color scheme on Jesus Was an Alien suggests a utilitarian whitewash with the occasional hint of blue. This is a slight album, musically, that operates in predictable straight lines: Synths trundle along like cruise-control electroclash, drum machines tick by, and a piano makes its innocuous voice known on “The Matrix,” a vaguely old-school house song that resembles Joe Smooth’s “Promised Land” with all the passion blue-pilled out of it.

Other club conceptualists, like Drexciya or Jeff Mills, have paired weighty subject matter with a sense of gravitas, but Perel's perfectly functional music, when stripped of its lyrics, could be about anything, really, and it steadfastly refuses to catch fire. “Kill the System” is so measured in its arpeggiated stroll that it makes me want to re-evaluate my homeowner’s insurance rather than storm the barricades.

To make things worse, Perel enlists one of the few artists today to nail the blend of subversion, humor, and intelligence that Jesus Was an Alien is striving for: Montreal mischief-maker Marie Davidson. It is a decision akin to asking Van Gogh to finish off your sunflowers, and Davidson entirely outshines her host on the album’s title track. Davidson’s lyrics enlighten and intrigue where Perel’s land with a thud; her delivery vibrates with a guileful control to Perel’s often weary trudge; and she provides the album’s best vocal melody by quite a long chalk. It would be one thing if Perel had failed ambitiously; instead, she simply underwhelms. As it stands, Jesus Was an Alien’s artwork outshines the music in both impact and audacity; Perel’s theological provocation is unlikely to win many converts.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Perel - Jesus Was an Alien Music Album Reviews Perel - Jesus Was an Alien Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, May 26, 2022 Rating: 5

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