For Jesus On The Mainline, less is definitely not more.
When you walk into your first show, you will find yourself wondering whether the band invited friends onstage to hang out. Actually, all 15 people are members of the band. “It’s like a big party on stage every single show,” Andrew Neesley, the band’s leader (and life of the party) explains. “Once our tuba player had to sit on the floor because the stage was so small.” Countering Neesley’s zip is the cool steadiness of Tim Emmerick, the group’s guitar and banjo player, singer, and co-writer of the new album to be recorded in New York City at the end of the summer.
JOTM plans to debut the new material at Summerfest, the “world’s largest music festival” in Milwaukee on July 10, and no doubt fans will notice the more pared down sounds, although all 15 members will be incorporated. Neesley and Emmerick realized having every instrument and voice present in nearly all their songs doesn’t do all the individual talents justice. “It’s been an interesting thing, creatively, to think about the music a little bit stripped down. ‘What happens if we add a little space?’”
The changes in sound aren’t entirely obvious either, even to the band. It may take a few listens to realize there’s no horn in a song, which is entirely the point, because sometimes absence holds the same power as 15 musicians getting rowdy on stage.
"We’re just trying to use all the tools in our box the best way we can.”
Fortunately for the listener, the band’s energy and volume doesn’t devolve into a 45 minute cacophony. Jesus lovers appreciate the balance struck in all the live shows. The band balances the straight heel kicking of songs like “Jump Right In” and “Sister City, Brother Bone” by taking it to church with the hearty choruses and soulful guitar riffs in “Sweet High and Dry” and “Lithium.” The energy and soul of these songs, featured on the 2014 EP, is not lost on the yet-to-be-named new album but reworked in a way that gives each of the 15 members their due.
You can expect the same energy with a little more focus from the band's new album, slated to hit shelves late this year. But to sate your appetite, their music can be found on the band’s website and Spotify.