Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Plenty of curves

image of CD cover

This album makes me think of plenty of curvy furniture, mohair sweaters, big wooden clogs with shiny red leather, glass tables and little fires in bijou little fireplaces. Not that it’s wintry. No — it’s anything but seasonal in any season. It pulls away from the sides of your glass — typical Jelly.

As far as my reviewing skills for this kind of music go, I really can’t do a good job. Other than to say that as a musical, satisfying example of the form, I’d give it 4//5, with perfection level at 4/5 and technical mastery at 5/5. I bow to the Guardian, Amazon, and the promo material, which actually is spot on as a realistic idea of what you’ll get if you listen.

The resurgence of rock in most aspects of popular music has certainly not gone unnoticed by Lemon Jelly’s Fred Deakin and Nick Franglen as ’64–’95 is littered with epic guitars and explosive refrains nestling amongst the downbeat soul for which they are best known. Opener “Come Down on Me” is tense, fiery, and for the most part dominated by the partnership of crashing power–chords and a lead synth that, while not big–beat, wouldn’t sound out of place on an old Lo–Fi’s or Chemical Brothers’ album. … Fast–forward to 2005 and a new album is here, ’64–’95, out January 31st. Based upon unlikely samples, it’s very much a Lemon Jelly record but not as you know it. It is also their first album to come with an accompanying DVD that has been lovingly created by their design cohorts, Airside. … Each of ’64–’95’s nine tracks samples a deeply unfashionable record from a year within the title’s timeframe. 1988 is represented not by acid house, but by Masters of Reality’s metal; 1976 offers fruity Oxbridge vocal group the King’s Singers instead of the Sex Pistols; 1993 is depicted not as grunge’s zenith, but the year that gave us Atlantic Ocean’s pop–trance smash Waterfall.

Lemon Jelly so often gets bastardised as function–music — not only in the sense that it’s played as background–music at various ‘functions’ but that it is used as wakeup music, workout music (erm, how exactly does one work out to this music? I want to know), filler music while you sit in a coffeeshop and stare blankly at your ersatz beverage.

While it is the fate of all modern music to be aural wallpaper, in many cases such a fate is unfortunate, and, at worst, unjust. I’m really looking forward to waking up with The Shouty Track tomorrow morning in a dark bus. But it’s excellent when you’re fully awake, doing nothing but listening, and looking around your room, feeling good. More–ish and recommended.

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