Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Albums Of The Decade: #29

Lemonjelly.ky - Lemon Jelly [2000]



Bit of a cheat, this. Didn't take long, did it?

I'm a bit uneasy about including (the wondrously superb) Lemonjelly.ky in this list because, well, it's not really an album. A collection of their three EPs leading up to its release (two of which were, ahem, made before this decade), Lemonjelly.ky isn't as much of a masterpiece made in a moment of time as a damn good record made over a number of those moments. Does that make sense? Yes? Good, I'm glad you're with me on that.

You might remonstrate: why is it here ahead of Lost Horizons or '64-'95? They're both 'real' albums, and brilliant to boot. Plus '64-'95 has William Shatner on it! Why isn't that on this list instead of a miniature Best Of?

Because Lemonjelly.ky gives a good idea of how its creators were able to make those follow-up albums - and also because it's better (sorry).

In The Bath is a chunky beast that somehow manages to soothe and intimidate at the same time. His Majesty King Raam is lighter than angel tread and can transport a person from a packed London tube to a Philadelphia advert. The Staunton Lick is...well, it's just brilliant, is what it is.



The highlight, though, has to be ident-friendly Homage To Patagonia, a violent two-act epic complete with ponderous keyboard prods, Spanish guitar and heavy breathing that comes together into a seamless montage of aceness (slightly altered version below).



Lemon Jelly have never been afraid to innovate: see their note on '64-'95's cover sleeve for proof of that ("This is our new album. It's not like our old album."), or their replacement of support acts with audience participation overseen by a giant figure of Death (Bingo, anyone?).

But if their two albums hence showed what else they could do, it began here. Who says ambient trip-hop has to always be background music? Who says you can't make nine-minute instrumentals both catchy and inventive? Balls to the lot of you, say Lemon Jelly, before apologising, smiling mischievously and putting on another slice of understated magic.

Lemonjelly.ky might be lacking the happy choruses of Lost Horizons' semi-hit singles Space Walk and Nice Weather For Ducks, but anyone who says it's any less joyful hasn't heard the amazing use of The Staunton Lick to end seminal Channel 4 sitcom Spaced for good.

Something missed by so many tryhards is that instrumentals (come on, they are instrumentals) can put a big stupid smile on your face, and nowhere do Lemon Jelly show that better than on Lemonjelly.ky.

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Spotify link non-existent because Spotify doesn't have this album because Spotify sucks arse sometimes.