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
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.
3. Rambling Man
4. Return To Patagonia
5. Nice Weather For Ducks
6. Experiment No. 6
8. The Curse of Kazar