The Jesus Cleaver was, and will always remain a journey into isolation. Largely unheard of, and similarly unspoken of, in their 13 year existence the band – primarily the creative vehicle of Brisbane-based singer/songwriter John P Shea – remained deeply reclusive, preferring their artistic output to speak for itself.

Never at home amidst the sub-tropical climes of “the Sunshine State”, the dark alternative music of The Jesus Cleaver found itself onto New York City playlists far more frequently than those of its home state. Venturing on stage briefly in early 2002, the band disappeared from view following the departure of its bassist, [3], interning itself in the studio until the self-produced debut album, “A Private Encyclopaedia”, was released on 18 May 2010.

Combining vivid and emotive lyrics with a lush, beautifully disturbing atmosphere, the debut album featured the single “Luscious”, a sprawling, disconnected edifice of despair and introspection. From fast-paced, bass-heavy tracks to quirky and irreverent, to devastating emotionalism, The Jesus Cleaver explored a broad range of sounds and styles, with a dark romantic theme underscoring the ten original tracks on the debut album.

In July 2012, part 1 of the band’s follow-up album, “Life In Clouds”, was released, featuring 6 original tracks, including the single, “Mercy”, which debuted as the band’s first music video on YouTube* @

The album continued to see The Jesus Cleaver moving in many musical directions at once, whilst traversing familiar dark romantic songscapes. The album’s first single, “Mercy”, received steady playlist adds from dark alternative DJs around the world.

On 22 October 2012, the BDSM-inspired (stand alone) single, “Confidence”, was released, featuring heavy beats and a delicious bass line, perfectly complementing the subject matter of the lyrics.

The band’s final single, “Europa”, the second from the follow-up album “Life In Clouds”, was released on 4 March 2013. The track highlighted a peak of lyrical output, exploring the furthest recesses of interpersonal orbits, delivered in an up-tempo dark alternative anthem.

In just over a month after releasing “Europa”, The Jesus Cleaver ceased to exist, however a limited edition of “Life In Clouds”, featuring bonus tracks, was pressed in support of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation on 22 May 2013.

A short-lived side project, The Heaven Light, released an anxious, electro-anthemic single, “Reorder” on February 2014 @ however this track was not promoted, and remains the project’s final musical output.


John Peel RIP, Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees/The Creatures, SWANS/The Angels of Light, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, This Mortal Coil, Johnny Cash, The Sugar Cubes/Björk, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Severed Heads, The Saints.

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