’64-’95 – Lemon Jelly

Label: Xl Recordings

The thing with revered and infinitely lauded chill-out duo Lemon Jelly was always that as soon as you’d settled down to let the silky electronica run wispy, stylish trails around you and tickle your nerve endings, two gurning blokes would inevitably gatecrash your personal space blowing those gaudy party-trumpets that unfurl and parp unceremoniously in your face, trying to touch their elbows with their tongues and galloping round like giddy supermen using your curtains as makeshift capes. A majority, it would seem, were partial to such a helping of whimsy and indulged their every cheeky electro poke in the ribs or novelty children’s matinee performance with balloons and clowns. Some of us, however, did not. Some of us were driven to the point of insanity by all the larking.

So this record is for us, the rest of us. You’ll realise that things have changed, that the old Lemon Jelly had been escorted out of the building, when we start throwing around adjectives like “meaty” or “intense” or “knock-out”. They changed their way of working on this album, maybe they started the day with a hangover, or were just a bit cranky, but who cares – it wiped the smiles off their faces and that’s the important thing.

The project they ended up with was taking a single sample per track from a record in their collections – the year of release signified by the years in the title – and running with it. And it’s surprising how much meat is to be found in Nick and Fred’s collections. Traces of heavy metal, punk metal, funk metal and more. Of course the thing is, add larking to a barrel of riffs and you automatically get either GWAR or the Bloodhound Gang, so it was in their best interests to clean up their act.

Opening sonic bomb (yes, really, powerful) ‘88 AKA Come Down On Me’ is far more ‘Fat Of The Land’ than ‘Lost Horizons’ with its grinding stupor and menacing guitar loop. ‘93 AKA Don’t Stop Now’ is more chilled out certainly, but like barbed-wire-fence-and- searchlights-chilled, Leftfield with a mild bout of paranoia territory. ‘95 AKA Make Things Right’ finally floats through some familiar territory with its elevator funk and Groove Armada soul vocal, but demons have been exorcised, urges restrained, and aside from a surge of plinky-plonky in the final strait we resist fully from reaching for the can of mace. ‘79 AKA The Shouty Track’ continues in the old tricks with more oomph vein, but with an elastic party funk direct hit, like RHCP on the waltzers. So finally then, a chance to chill-out with your hackles down. But don’t take that as a guarantee that ’75 and ’76 won’t try your patience a tiny bit.

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Release: Lemon Jelly - '64-'95
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Released: 01 February 2005