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Lemon Jelly - '64 - '95

Review: Jack Foley

LEMON Jelly return with perhaps their most ambitious and mainstream album to date - a wonderful collection of beats, samples and melodies that prove Fred Deakin and Nick Franglen show no sign of wobbling just yet.

The album could be described as a concept given that it is comprised of samples taken from their extensive record collection - the '64 to '95 of the title representing the span in years between the first and last records chosen.

Rather than merely sampling, however, Fred and Nick have taken just a snippet from the records and fleshed them out with all the musical styles we have come to expect from the duo.

The result, while less quirky and eccentric than, say, Lost Horizons, marks an exciting progression for the duo, which takes in everything from metal, 70s pop and R&B to rock, chill out and dance.

So while there's nothing to rival the sheer unique buzz you got from first listening to a track such as The Staunton Lick, from the first album, there's no denying that Lemon Jelly have managed to retain their own identity, while delivering an album that fits comfortably inbetween works from major artists such as The Chemical Brothers and Nightmares on Wax.

The album highlight is most definitely Make Things Right, a lush, romantic and completely feel-good effort that features a tantalising vocal from UK R&B star, Terri Walker (singing a Monica cover).

Having caught the track live at Somerset House last year, it's a relief to finally be able to put it on the CD player whenever the desire arises - and that's quite often once you're heard it. Comparisons with the style of Nightmares on Wax and Morcheeba are not far off the mark.

Another guest vocalist also adds something fantastic and new to the mix - namely, William Shatner.

Yep, the former Captain Kirk lends his beat poet talents to final track, Go, to create an epic, sweeping, soaring track that truly brings the album to an uplifting finale (while also conjuring memories of past track, Rambling Man).

It serves to show the ambitious nature of the album and the heights which Fred and Nick are continually trying to achieve.

Don't Stop Now, featuring a funky retro beat and a sample from Waterfall (by Van der Weyde) is sure to become a live favourite and a dance-friendly track for the Summer, while The Slow Train, which contains elements of I'm A Train, is Lemon Jelly at their offbeat best, featuring a delightful barber shop quartet.

Other samples come from the likes of Scottish post-punkers, The Scars, as well as 70s popsters, Gallagher and Lyle.

What's important, however, is that '64 - '95 maintains that feel-good and distinctly unique quality that consistently comes from listening to Lemon Jelly.

That it does so, while also marking a giant leap forward in the duo's musical odyssey, is testament to the magic of Fred and Nick's vivid imaginations.

Waste no time in buying what could well be one of the best albums of 2005.

Track listing:
1. '88 AKA Come Down On Me
2. '68 AKA Only Time
3. '93 AKA Don't Stop Now
4. '95 AKA Make Things Right
5. '79 AKA The Shouty Track
6. '75 AKA Stay With You
7. '76 AKA The Slow Train
8. '90 AKA Man Like Me
9. '64 AKA Go

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