Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So serene (Jellyfish)

I know a lot of Jellyfish's 1993 album Spilt Milk album off by heart because it was on high rotate in the late 90s, early 00s as I was working on university assignments for a post grad degree in school management. For a lot of that time I was struggling with a thesis and Spilt Milk got me through!

I bought the CD from Real Groovy in Auckland and later tracked down their other album Bellybutton from Edinburgh's HMV in 2003.

Anyway...I'd put the album on as I started my labours for the day and hit repeat. The songs merged into a cohesive whole and the vocals by Andy Sturmer are really easy on the ear. So it was the perfect study music for me.

I'm a big big fan of the obscurely slurred,  muddy vocal delivery . Think Michael Stipe on early REM albums or Mick Jagger on Stones classics like Street Fighting Man. Andy is not that bad but he's close.

Andy has a great, distinctive voice and the backing vocals are so layered that at times it is nigh on impossible to make out what the lyrics are. Great!!

Jellyfish at times sound like The Beach Boys, Queen, The High Llamas, early Radiohead, Supertramp, and they are clearly influenced by The Fabs (the cover of Macca's Jet is note for note on the Bellybutton album) as well as powerpop outfits like The Raspberries, Badfinger and Big Star.

Usually that makes for a very derivative sound but Jellyfish forge a clear identity of their own.

The closest the San Francisco band ever came to a hit was The Ghost At Number One. A perfect little pop song.

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