JELLYFISH – ” Joining A Fan Club “

Posted: February 12, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,

Jellyfish band

Jellyfish’s career was all about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their painfully short two album span came when grunge had taken a somewhat angst-ridden hold of the nation’s sensibilities and Kurt Cobain’s cries for help were the defining noises of the era.

Against this, Jellyfish’s love of harmony and hook lines were considered desperately uncool, but both their debut album, “Bellybutton” and the glorious sophomore effort “Spilt Milk” have consequently not only stood the test of time but actively improved with it.

From the slim pickings of just two studio albums (1990’s Bellybutton and Spilt Milk from 1993) and a brief four year existence, Ominvore Records have compiled various ‘new’ releases including, in 2012, the “Live At Bogarts” set and more recently “Radio Jellyfish” (a collection of largely unreleased radio sessions). A special mention must go to the most satisfying Omnivore set for Jellyfish aficionados, the “Stack A Tracks” two-CD collection which offered up instrumental versions of both albums.

Both Bellybutton and Spilt Milk are two-CD sets and the bonus discs for each contain – more or less – the entire albums in demo form (and more). These demos are incredibly well developed and quite similar to the polished album versions. “I remember thinking we should not veer to far from the arrangements we came up with on the demos, because I thought they were really good,” reveals guitarist Jason Falkner in the excellent notes. Some of these demos actually predate even the Fan Club set with the UK CD singles for The Ghost At Number One (CUSCD10) and New Mistake (CUSCD11) bolstering their appeal with some of those unheard recordings.

Bellybutton grows from the original 10-tracks to 36, while Spilt Milk echoes this with 25 tracks on top of the original 12. These are presented as eight-panel style digipacks with extensive booklets which include new interviews with various band members (and producer Albhy Galuten) and also a track-by-track guide by songwriters and core members Andy Sturmer (drums/vocals) and Roger Manning Joseph Jnr (keyboards/multi-instrumentalist). In the main, these are nice looking packages

jelly1

Spilt Milk is a wonderfully unpretentious homage to pop music in its essential form: catchiness and melody are the keynotes here. From the soaring ‘Joining A Fan Club’ – with typically arch lyrics on fanboy culture and harmonies cut from Queen and The Beach Boys – to the psychedelic pop doodlings of ‘Sebrina, Paste and Plato’ the band explore a range of possibilities within the pop format – and well beyond. Never less than enjoyable, nearly always exhilarating, Spilt Milk is an absolute joy.

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