Jessica's Crime

Jessica's Crime

BandRockGothic

Country-infused, hallucenogenic rock-opera with shiny, metal teeth.

Biography

The first Jessica's Crime incarnation materialized in 1995, following the dissolution of founding members J. Aaron Bishop and David Hellstrom's earlier project, the art-punk-noise collective, SpeedKings (1989-1995). Regrouping after the untimely death of their first singer, the original core trio- consisting of Bishop on vocals and guitar, Hellstrom on second guitar, and the enigmatic Cliff on bass- independently produced their first, full length record, the hallucenogenic, industrial/rock masterpiece, 'Psychosemantic,' between 1997 and '98. Many of the characteristic features of JC's self-described "ophidian rock" style were already evident in this early offering. Songs such as 'She,' 'Angel,' and 'St. Mary' showcased a thickly layered, riff-heavy, twin-guitar assault and catchy bass riffs, anchored to a massive skeleton of pounding drum machines. Throughout, Aaron's singularly ferocious vocal cut through the mix to deliver the complex narrative and rich literary subtext that would become the band's hallmark. Interviews and reviews in the alternative music press at that time conjured visions of a band wandering somewhere in the desolate no-man's land between Nick Cave and Metallica, with an execution that borrowed in equal measure from the Sisters of Mercy and Ministry.

Following the release of 'Psychosemantic,' Cliff left to pursue his own projects, while Bishop and Hellstrom relocated to Philadelphia to begin work on their follow-up release. Preceded by a number promotional CD singles, JC's sophomore record, 'Scarecrow + Hizbollah' (2000), featured a more metallic sound, which was used to particularly great effect on a re-recorded, amped-up version of one of the standout tracks from the previous record, the disturbing stalker anthem 'She.' The album closed with the now classic ode to psychosis, chemical abuse, self-destruction, and love lost: the incomparable, Mary Chain-esque wall of noise, 'What Forever Means.' This astonishing track was to be their last recorded output for more than five years and could have served as a fitting epitaph to an already impressive body of work. However, over the next three years, as Hellstrom gradually faded into obscurity, Bishop's long time friend and collaborator Michael P. came on board, after having been freed from obligations to his previous band, the critically acclaimed Dallas quartet The Confessionals. In the interim, an anthology record, 'Letters to Suzuka,' appeared, showcasing the finest moments from the first three JC albums.

Now, after years of meticulous recording in atmospheric locales ranging from the steel and concrete sprawl of Philadelphia, to the backwoods of darkest Missouri, to the high plains of Texas, Jessica's Crime return in 2006 with their third full length album, the epochal 'Gone to Texas.' Presenting their most fully realized concept to date, the band has unveiled a much darker style, bolstered with a newfound pop sensibility. The resulting twelve songs pulse and shimmer with razor-sharp wit and infectious grooves. The lyrics, sung by turns with howling ferocity and a poignant sense of loss, lead the listener on a stark and violent journey through the dreamlike landscape of a mythical West. Conceived initially as an extended sequel to 1997's 'St. Mary,' 'Gone to Texas' evokes the surrealistic narrative of King's 'Gunslinger' and the psychological complexity of Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness.' Musically, the band's finely honed, yet disturbingly surreal, country aesthetic spills headlong into relentless, mechanized percussion, overlaid with a complex lattice of gonzoid guitar riffing and mercurial, whiskey tenor vocals. The two most obvious choices for single airplay encompass the wide range of styles that pervade the album as a whole- on the one hand, we find the relentlessly danceable, country-industrial-death-rocker 'Priest,' while on the other we hear the soulful, acoustic lament of 'Maria.' The overall effect is weirdly familiar yet decidedly without parallel, providing equal measures of visceral and intellectual satisfaction, rarely encountered in popular music.

Lyrics

Gone to Texas

Written By: J. Aaron Bishop

Leaving behind the desert-bound lake
and the stink of the city when she starts to burn,
I knew right then that the man in the collar
weren’t never, never, never gonna let me alone.

Got a big, black car and the sun’s behind me,
now the sky is the color of a dead TV
and twenty-four hours ain’t enough to hide
and with the roles reversed, I know he’d come for me.
BAM-BAM!
But the city was a wicked waste of my
time slips back from west to east
like a line reminds me of the past
presents another future
and the crime binds him to me.

But it’s o.k. now- I’m gone, to Texas!
I won’t lay down till I get back home.
Gotta hit the ground running (for the full effect),
I got fuel, got guns, got money…
to burn.

Searching the ground and the sky for a sign,
but the traces we leave ain't so easy to see.
One side of the coin shows Janus deranged,
one side of the coin looks just like me.
BAM-BAM!
But confession is a wicked waste of my mind
when guilt is what I need,
and the line looks straight, but it leads me home:
we move in circles, it’s the nature of things

But it’s o.k. now- I’m gone, to Texas!
I won’t lay down till I get back home.
Gotta hit the ground running (so he don’t suspect),
I got fuel, got guns, got money…
to burn.

Come, at last, to the border
I ask you: is the past worth saving
if it isn’t clean?
But the promise we made, t’weren’t easily broken,
and the Word ain’t bad, if it says what it means.

But it’s o.k. now- I’m gone, to Texas!
I won’t lay down till I get back home.
Gotta hit the ground running (like it don’t affect us),
got fuel, got guns, got money…

Priest

Written By: J. Aaron Bishop

Cities and sidewalks, and talking the back talk
walking, in fact, just like Enoch- with God.
Find us a bar, and let's work us some magic.
For, see? I'm the one with the whip and the rod...

Calculating, salivating, topsy-turvy, desecrating
Sleep, my dear, perchance to dream
(I'm lying through my teeth!)
But love is dumb as well as blind,
so ask of me and you shall find,
for I am just a pilgrim, girl,
but you can call me "Priest,"

My first thought, it was: that he lied with each word
as it dripped off his tongue, or did glint in his eye.
But caught, as I was, in the grip of salvation,
he twisted his Word around my greater lie.

Calculating, salivating, topsy-turvy, desecrating
Sleep, my dear, perchance to dream
(I'm lying through my teeth!)
But love is dumb as well as blind,
so ask of me and you shall find,
for I am just a pilgrim, girl,
but you can call me "Priest,"

Stinking of liquor and stroking the Bible,
my companion's eyes have gone vacant and cold.
So it's on, to Maria, to finish the job
with an act of black mischief to take to the road.

Calculating, salivating, topsy-turvy, desecrating
Sleep, my dear, perchance to dream
(I'm lying through my teeth!)
But love is dumb as well as blind,
so ask of me and you shall find,
for I am just a pilgrim, girl,
but you can call me "Priest."

Maria

Written By: J. Aaron Bishop

My Maria, why do you look so low?
You know it’s been a long time
and h-h-how you’ve grown!
She was a Mexican girl
with Japanese eyes
and a smile that'd make you forget,
make you want to stay.
But it’s twenty-two years
too long wait
and a girl can't wait forever
just for one day.

Ok, Maria, I’m coming home,
but only ‘cause it's on my way.
‘Cause there’s a soul that’s there
that’s just as black as coal
an’ he’s a-gunnin’ for you
so please, little girl,
please look away.

Oh, my Maria...
the life we might have known!
My poor Maria…
a little girl no more.
When I see you there
with your long, black hair
in a dirty bar
so far from home
the little girl I loved
a little girl that’s gone…

Will I hear Maria
start to sing her song?

Discography

2006 Gone to Texas
2002 Letters to Suzuka: An Anthology
2001 Scarecrow (second jihad)
2001 Scarecrow + Hizbollah
2001 Love is Vengeance CD single
2000 Don't Cry CD single
2000 The Mutiny CD EP
1999 Psychosemantic (sub-figura 1.5)
1998 Psychosemantic
1995 Wintersongs cassette EP