Every tiniest detail of Spartan Jet-Plex’s Godless Goddess aids in weaving a complex web of surface contradictions musical, emotional, and philosophical. Opener “Stop” is a darkly beautiful art/dream pop track characterized by the atmospheric chirping of birds, deep horns, selectively self-harmonized vocal hooks, and lyrics centered around self-doubt, anxiety, the duality of the mind, and the fear of what intense self-reflection, dwelling on one’s own thoughts and feelings might bring. Yet after such an opening statement, Spartan Jet-Plex confidently thrusts herself fully into such reflection in the form of a wildly varying potpourri of sounds, implementing elements of freak folk, neofolk, experimental electronic, and ambient within a focused dive into the messy intricacies of her own self, a messy social culture bent on oversimplification, the messy process of coalescing the perspectives that nothing matters at all and yet everything matters immensely, and the messy journey towards becoming your own goddess when the world has failed to provide one for you.
An album so inherently personal, so intent on tumbling down its own rabbit hole of existentialism, may sound alienating. Yet once again, Godless Goddess shirks the notion that anything is just one thing, and above all is an album about acceptance. “Everything” is a stark, emotionally naked singer/songwriter tune with soft, two-note backing organ, gentle acoustic strumming, and huge, echo chamber vocals ruminating upon the meaning of existence (“you are a dream / in this world / what do we mean / in this world”), with her answer to the question within the context of the album landing on becoming the acceptance and purpose others haven’t given you. While it seems clear that Spartan Jet-Plex doesn’t pray at anyone’s altar, the title and theme of Godless Goddess is more a symbolic commentary on how people gravitate towards religious communities and deities for belonging rather than seeking it within themselves.
Working our way back to the topic of contradictions, the more experimental interlude tracks, such as “Chronostasis Interlude” (with guest Berko Lover’s trembling, repeated vocals begging “please, take it easy on me”), “Baubo” (named for the Greek goddess of mirth known for sexual liberation and the spreading of laughter), and “Trust and Believe (Survivors)” (a powerful, instrumental electronic piece serving as a supportive ode to the victimized) are the most thematically communal of this tape, while the more ‘traditional’, ‘inviting’ songs focus inwards.
After a struggle between light and dark, we finally arrive and finish at “Light”, and the conclusion, the ‘light’ that Spartan Jet-Plex has found, is the sentiment that “we are all alone”, in darkness, in light, and in life. To some, this may seem like a bleak perspective, but it’s anything but. She’s fully accepted herself, she has become her own goddess, and in doing so, can create an infinite amount of love, light, and power, both for herself and for those she may choose to bestow it upon.
This is an incredible tape, masterfully balancing its emotional and intellectual properties in a way exceedingly few albums approach, an inviting embrace for those who think too much, dwell too much, are socially alienated, are personally alienated. More important than anything else that can be said about Godless Goddess, it may inch you just a bit closer towards loving yourself, and that’s no common feat.
Favorite tracks: “Stop”, “Everything”, “Light”