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Lemon Jelly - Lost Horizons


Review: Jack Foley

IT'S BEEN two years since Lemon Jelly first mesmerised listeners with their debut single, The Staunton Lick, a wonderfully upbeat slice of eccentric chillout which still manages to put a smile on the face whenever it is played.

Well, the Lemons have returned and, I am delighted to say, Nick Franglen and Fred Deakin have lost none of their playfulness. Lost Horizons, the second album, is a delirious mix of chirpy melodies, breezy acoustic guitars and spine-tingling piano samples that combine to make one of the most satisfying and easy listens of the year.

From the very first track, the sweeping Elements, through to its seductive final track, The Curse of Ka'Zar, Lost Horizons is a gleeful bundle of energy, perfectly suited to any mood (even your worst), which seldom sounds pretentious or too clever.

Take, for instance, the sublime Ramblin' Man, which uses the same style of narrative recently employed by Saint Etienne on their Finisterre album, but to greater success; it is an effortless joyride through the very best that chillout has to offer, without ever sounding borrowed, recycled or laboured (it is meant as a tribute to Clarke Gable, apparently).

The Lemon Jelly sound is something virtually unique; employing quirky samples and setting them around some genuinely soothing beats. Nice Weather For Ducks, for instance, manages to work its magic by basing its rhythms around a children's nursery rhyme ('All the ducks are sitting in the water...'), while the sprawling Spacewalk (which marked the first single to be taken from the new album) is inspired by the Apollo moon landings.

Indeed, when you hear the astronaut announcing, throughout the track, that what he sees is 'beautiful, just beautiful', you'll find it hard to disagree; for the track's enticing mix of piano and guitar, offset by a happy-go-lucky beat, is sweetly seductive.

Occasionally, the album wonders into too offbeat territory, as in Return to Patagonia, or Experiment No.6 (featuring another narrative, this time from Richard E Grant), but these provide only momentary lapses and there is still plenty to admire in the way they have been produced.

Elsewhere, you'll be having so much fun, that it's difficult to notice. Franglen, who abandoned an early career as a landscape gardener, and Deakin, who has DJed at some of London and Edinburgh's top clubs, have formed a terrifically quirky double act which looks set to run and run.

Spacewalk, for instance, has already delivered a chart success unrealised with The Staunton Lick, while tracks such as Closer (if released) could thrust them further into the mainstream eye.

Lost Horizons is an effortlessly pleasing, quietly affecting listen which offers a giddy excursion through musical delirium. As an exercise in delivering laidback chillout, it has few peers.

 

Track listing:
1. Elements
2. Spacewalk
3. Rambling Man
4. Return To Patagonia
5. Nice Weather For Ducks
6. Experiment No. 6
7. Closer
8. The Curse of Ka’zar

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