They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but with a record, it’s pretty darn essential. Sleeve art should be a statement of intent, a labour of love, a visual extension of and perfect companion to the music within.
‘lemonjelly.ky’, as well as being blessed with a quite splendid title, is contained in possibly the most retina-damaging packaging you’ll see this side of a lava lamp; fitting, considering the nine tracks on offer are tailor-made for that swinging sixties bachelor pad, veering close to easy listening (and that’s a compliment).
But Lemon Jelly ain’t no retro revivalists, and this album would sit comfortably on the stereo at any dinner party going on in Hoxton (or whatever area of London is the most impeccably trendy this month). Yep, it may be background music, but it’s background music with wit, savvy and balls.
The mix-and-match aesthetic of Beck and the Beta Band is the starting-point; and ‘lemonjelly.ky’ takes in Disney-style strings, shades of salsa and shambolic half-grooves within its 67 minutes.
‘Nervous Tension’s smoky beats, rolling piano and voice-over taken from an instruction tape shouldn’t gel, but they do – brilliantly.
And the twinkly pastoral psychedelia of ‘His Majesty King Raam’ is reminiscent of Mercury Rev’s last hugely acclaimed album, ‘Deserters Songs’ (which also is a good thing).
Although this is a collection of the duo’s first three EPs, the whole thing flows as smoothly as if it were a proper album - and it’ll be hard (but undeniably interesting) to see how they can progress from and improve on what’s contained here.
So if you’re an afficionado of Air, this’ll make the perfect stop-gap until the Gallic garçon-wonders get their fingers out and give us that second album proper.
Just don’t mention the Nana Mouskouri samples.
8Amy Bell's Score