Jesus Lizard - Down


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Down was the final offering of the Jesus Lizard's Touch and Go era. Like its predecessors, it features a four letter word for a title, this one not evoking sex, death, sadness, or soft, warm goose feathers. Remarkable in many ways, it features the Jesus Lizard's first Christmas song, in which a woman tells the story of being poisoned by her husband with mistletoe. "The Associate" is another love song, a noir-ish lament during which Yow tenderly comments to his beloved, "You've got skin like porcelain," while Sims and McNeilly tap out the jazz. "Crusty porcelain," Yow clarifies, "restroom porcelain." Two sub-three-minute rockers occupy the heart of Down. Yow's vocal presentation is almost conventional, a conscious move that gives Down a different kind of authority than previous records. Denison's work provides the hard rock liftoff on "Countless Backs of Sad Losers," and Tejas- flavored boogie on "Queen For A Day." The rock remains undistilled through "50 Cents" and album closer "The Best Parts," and continues into bonus tracks "Glamorous" and "Deaf As A Bat." Also, in what may be a first for the Jesus Lizard, nobody dies, a steep decline from the body count implied on earlier records. Rest assured, there is no shortage of madness, paranoia, and evil intent. By album number four, the Jesus Lizard had co-opted and redefined convention. By their standards, Down is typically, reliably excellent. That other rock records of 1994 presumed to occupy the same ether is laughable.