Roscoe Roscoe pay their respects to 60’s counterculture on the dreamlike ‘Jacob’s Ladder’.
Words: Brad Harris | Photo: Holly Whitaker
The concept of Jacob’s Ladder has been appropriated numerous times over the ages. In its first biblical incarnation it was simply a story of Jacob’s dream of the angels descending from and returning to heaven. Some have interpreted this as an ascetic model through which to attain heavenly perfection and eventually it formed part of the classic funeral hymn Nearer, My God, to Thee that the string ensemble reportedly played as the titanic sank. But Roscoe Roscoe’s latest adoption of the term has more in common with its appearance in David K. Lynch (no not that one) and William Livingston’s work Color and Light in Nature, in which they identify it as another name for a sunbeam.
In some ways, Jacob’s Ladder is the inverse of previous single Brain Retrieve – both released via London favourites Slow Dance – which carried more of the aforementioned apocalyptic bent. Here the band tread lightly, with warmer tones, softer vocals and shimmer-ier synths. Jacob Luna, the band’s titular guitarist, says the music was written while “playing around on the guitar watching TV” which is apt for a song that exists somewhere between that cosmic feeling of early-hours channel surfing and slacking off watching cartoons.
Some identify Jesus as the ladder that Jacob dreamed of, made real, and perhaps for some, Roscoe Roscoe will be the bridge between the 60’s counterculture they so clearly pay their respects to and the always-online modernity that pervades bands like black midi, with whom they share a cultural landscape. With a music video due in the next few weeks and bookings at several festivals, don’t be surprised if they are the soundtrack to the sun’s-out-shirts-off-Euro-Olympics-2021-everything-is-open-again summer we have been waiting for.