Thursday, March 24, 2005

"Not like our old album"

Lemon Jelly sticker: This is our new album. It's not like our old album. So I finally got around to buying the new Lemon Jelly album, '64–'95.

As the sticker on the front says, "it's not like our old album". Less whimsy; more rock. Fewer vocals; more looped samples.

It's a big risk to take when the last album was so well-loved for its quirkiness, and for me it doesn't quite come off. Compared to Lost Horizons, there's nothing here that's as witty or as memorable as Ramblin' Man and Nice Weather for Ducks; and there's nothing as joyous as Spacewalk ("whoa! beautiful, just beautiful").

Part of the problem is that many tracks are repetitive in their use of sampled vocals: Don't Stop Now is the worst offender here, repeating the phrase "don't stop now" innumerable times over a rhythmic background.

It's not that it's a bad album; a lot of it's very pleasant, and some tracks (for example, the rocking opener Come Down On Me) are excellent. The trouble is, it's just not as good. Maybe it's a grower; time will tell.

Oh, and as an aside: I simply don't get the whole William Shatner revival. Have we forgotten how awful The Transformed Man, his terribly earnest 60s album was? He's a good fit on the last track here, Go; but as a singer — and arguably as an actor too, although its impossible to imagine Star Trek without him — he's a novelty act, nothing more.