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splendid > reviews > 2/15/2005
Lemon Jelly
Lemon Jelly
'64-'95
XL Recordings


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Go"

Buy me now
Lemon Jelly aren't so much a band as a brand; from their outrageously original yet instantly recognizable CD sleeve designs, to their wildly oscillating Impotent Fury label/club night to their cooled out post-acid house personalities, Nick Franglen and Fred Deakin have become arbiters of cool, injecting everything they touch with a freakishly hip hue. Not since the Chemical Brothers has an electronic duo elicited such excitement with every project, and to put it mildly, their sophomore album is a highly anticipated event among punters of all stripes.

They could have played it safe, made a crackling Lost Horizons II and been off with it, but that's simply not the Lemon Jelly way. Accordingly, '64-'95 offers a glimpse at a record collection far better than yours, as well as broader insight into the minds warped and ingenious enough to fuse dance, psychedelia and metal into the first truly exceptional treatise on gestalt dance. It breaks the mold of their previous releases by turning the amps up to eleven and re-casting the normally frigid figure of dance music as Jesus-in-a-leather jacket cool.

The album title refers to the time span of the material sampled to make it, yet nothing here sounds the least bit dated, and though the samples themselves run the stylistic gamut, they've been so craftily woven into the mix that they're practically indiscernible. It takes some digging to learn that "Come Down on Me"'s alcohol funnycar guitars belong to lifetime bong-worshippers Masters of Reality, or that you're hearing the wispy tones of neo-folkies (Benny) Gallagher and (Graham) Lyle darting in and out of "Stay With You" hazy raincloud stutter. Besides, it's unnecessary information in light of the songs' contagious power-fuzz glow. Though sampling has been done to death, the stealthiness which which Deakin and Franglen incorporate their borrowed material will be required study for wannabe producers and hop-headz; in that regard, it's on a par with the seminal Paul's Boutique.

The broad range of imagery these songs conjure is characteristically out of touch with the dance movement -- its seeds are planted deep within the realm of turbulent psychedelic heaviness and freakstick trance hippiedom. The visual element that Orbital sought to bring to this type of music is alive in "The Slow Train"'s bejeweled synths and paisley hairpin turns, not to mention "Go"'s AOR cheese-meets-surrealist beat poetry, which features a brilliant cameo by comeback hipster William Shatner. You'll see the lite brite flashes in your pupils, feel the wave-generated breaks in the soles of your feet and hear your pulse pound along with every last inch of '64-'95's sunburst techno landscape.



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