Album Review: Jesse LeBourdais – Grief Intensity Friendship

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Jesse LeBourdais

Grief Intensity Friendship - My Fingers! My Brains! Records

Grief Intensity Friendship is the fourth album from Canada’s Jesse Lebourdais, this latest release is born out of the pain of grief and loss and simultaneously bound by the strength of friendship, despite the album being informed by the loss of a close friend this is not an album that’s prone to instrospection and darkness, it’s a release that focuses on looking forward to things to come whilst remembering those we have lost, and speaking as someone who has experienced far too much personal loss this year I can testify that for me this is the only healthy way to deal with grief. Grief Intensity Friendship will be released digitally via Bandcamp, and all major digital platforms, on the 1tth July with the release of physical formats to follow over the summer months.

Gaines kicks things off in an electrified folk punk style that sets the tone for the album perfectly, from here on in this is a deeply personal recording that despite acting as a form a personal catharthis is an album that refuses to get mired in the darkness that can follow, rather it retains energy and a sense of euphoria that comes across as a triumphant life affirming album. There are numerous highlights across the twelve tracks but for me Quite Distant is the perfect moment on Grief Intensity Friendship, this track summarises the album’s attitude in a shade over four near perfect minutes. Jesse LeBourdais has acknowledged pain and heartache but chooses to focus on the joy and good times that life brings us, and there are few albums that carry as positive a message as Grief Intensity Friendship manages, and that it something to be treasured.

If you’re looking to place the sound of the album I would imagine that if you created a hybrid of The Gaslight Anthem, Against Me! and early Cobra Skulls then you wouldn’t be far from the mark, Grief Intensity Friendship embraces heartland rock’s soul and melds it with punk rock energy and the spirit of rebel country to create something that is genuinely moving and energising. The other factor that really makes this album stand out is the nature of it’s recording, recorded live and using old school analogue technology there is a warmth to the recording that is sadly missing from many albums that employ the more clinical digital approach. This is easily Jesse LeBourdain‘s finest release to date, and it’s an album that I know will be amongst my favourite releases of the year when I come to look back at 2017.

 Jesse LeBourdais‘s Bandcamp can be found here and his website is located here