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Lemon Jelly: "'64"
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Jelly Rocks!

I can see why some jellyheads have been a bit disappointed by Lemon Jelly's latest offering, '64 - '95. The cover sticker says "This is our new album. It's not quite like our previous albums" - and the change is quite evident from the first track. Lemon Jelly is no longer soft and wobbly, but tough and rugged. Largely gone are the soft and infantile trumpets of "Nice Weather For Ducks", replaced by rough synths and distorted guitars. Lemon Jelly has gone rock.

"88" aka Come Down On Me is a really great way to kick off an album. After a fairly translucent introduction, we're being snapped to attention by a classic stadium rock anthem power chord. Now, although we're hearing a new, harder way of interpreting the Jelly Formula (tm), the actual blueprint behind the facade is familiar from the first two albums. The tracks offer long build-ups based upon one or two samples, and there is little in the way of progression. This more or less means that if you dislike a theme in the first 30 seconds of a jelly track, you are not going to like the other 5+ minutes either. This happened to me on "93" aka Don't Stop Now - the low point of the album. You just can't play this track to any of your friends - they'd start giving you weird looks about two minutes into it, because honest to god nothing happens in this track. Absolutely nothing. The same samples and melodies and beats just go on and on. The rest of the tracks at least have fairly interesting build-ups and more compelling beats and melodies - if not even progression! Fortunately the Jelly Formula only rarely fails as usually the samples chosen are just compelling and will melt your heart - "93" is an isolated incident.

But that's enough with gripes. This is, in fact, an astonishing album. More traditional Jelly Moments (tm) are "68" aka Only Time and "95" aka Make Things Right which are light-hearted and sweet as Lemon Jelly should be. (Actually I think some of the samples are recycled, too, which adds to the familiarity). Then we have "88" and "79" aka The Shouty Track, which have sparked a bit of controversy. I thoroughly enjoyed "79" - it has a strong drive to it. It's like pure energy, rage even - it has a lot of character for an electronica track. This shows that the Jelly Formula works with rock - even though I generally dislike rock music, Lemon Jelly has found the right melodies and hooks to make it work in the midst of engineered beats and synthetic timbres.

(This review is partially incomplete.)

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Review by Saboteur


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