JuJu is the brainchild of Sicilian multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti (Lay Llamas, Herself). Following on from the project’s 2016 S/T debut – widely hailed as one of the best, most innovative psych albums of the year – Valenti has signed to Fuzz Club for the release of sophomore LP ‘Our Mother Was A Plant’. Carrying on in its predecessor’s footsteps, the new LP is a continuation of JuJu’s ritualistic sonic exploration into the cultural implications of the ongoing refugee crisis and humanities increasingly strained relationship with Mother Earth.
Featuring guest appearances from Capra Informis (the masked djembe player in Swedish psych titans, Goat), JuJu’s second album is officially out now.
‘Our Mother Was A Plant’ summons all kinds of spirits with its rhythmic, otherworldly psychedelia – changing the game, once again. While the subject matter may be familiar, the new album is far more forward-thinking and adventurous than the last. As Dayz Of Purple And Orange put it: “It must be hard for an artist who has been lauded far and wide for a debut album to follow it up…many would use the same recipe and hope but that’s not Valenti’s way. The debut’s ritualistic overtones and hints of the occult have been ousted in favour for a more worldly and afrocentric vibe.”
It’s never easy pinning JuJu’s sound – at times the heavily-reverbed guitars, textured walls of sound, gospel drones and crooning vocals make you envision Manchester in the late 80s/early 90s but the next minute you’re transported to a warehouse somewhere in 70s Germany summoning the metronomic, atonal beating hearts of Neu! or Kraftwerk. These are pretty common motifs in modern psychedelic music though; what makes JuJu so special is that at times you can forget about Manchester or Dusseldorf, for the funky almost afro-beat rhythms place you amongst sand-dunes and desert plains far away in Western Africa. And that’s exactly what makes JuJu stand out above the rafts of other bands in the scene – like the last, ‘Our Mother Is A Plant’ is an album that gets you more hooked and intrigued on each and every listen.
On the album Gioele explains: “Our Mother Was A Plant is inspired by the great psychedelic researchers and plant explorers active – including Timothy Leary, William Burroughs, Jim Morrison, Terence McKenna, Jeremy Narby and many others. People who managed to reveal the secret mechanism of the unconscious tied to the natural world that surrounds us, and from which we are definitely separated. Every separation, every neurosis, sexism, racism, speciesism, violence, terrorism comes from this division that the human being has operated between himself and the biosphere.
“True freedom lies in the coniuctio oppositorum (male and female back together in their common core of belonging), where every individuation ceases to exist, where the Goddess reigns, where the ego and private property are to be abandoned. An archaic symbolism that erupts from the unconscious. In this sense, as the maximum symbol of freedom, autonomy and integration I decided to dedicate the album to A Chosen Few, the first black American motorcycle club and it’s founding members (Lionel, Lil Frank, Roger, Hawk, Slim, Shirly Bates, and Champ)”
1) Death By Beautiful Things
2) In A Ghetto (Feat Capra Informis)
3) And Play A Game
4) James Dean
5) I Got Your Soul
7) What A Bad Day
8) Sunny After Moon (Feat Capra Informis)