Lemon Jelly


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The old Spacemen 3 cliché seems to apply here: Lemon Jelly appear to be taking drugs to make music to take drugs to. But this is an organized kind of drugginess, as each song is subtitled with a particular year between 1964 and 1995, designating the year from which each song's samples were generated. If that's not heady enough for a concept album, a look at the samples list is even more mind-bending: among them are U.S. soul-pop singer Monica, heavy rockers Masters of Reality, a Maori vocalist, and retro oddball du jour William Shatner. With the concept description thankfully out of the way, how does Fred Deakin and Nick Franglen's third long-player stack up? Oh, it's absolutely splendid! It's like a mad, beautiful mix of Lemon Jelly's past albums, the crunchy rock of the Chemical Brothers, the experimental sonic glee of the Go! Team, the dancefloor-fueling beats of Basement Jaxx, and the spaciness of the Orb at the peak of their powers. Most of the tracks are built around one vocal sample, usually the song's title repeated over and over. Though this formula might sound boring on paper, these lush, rich, organic, etc. (take your pick of a hyperbolic adjective) sound collages simply explode off the disc, making one dash for the dancefloor and perhaps shed a tear at the emotion that drips from the melodies. The atypical Shatner closer is a dirge-ish psychedelic masterpiece that feels like a Dark Side of the Moon B-side. Whether or not '64-'95 gets the acclaim it deserves and takes off commercially, the album sees Lemon Jelly laying down the law in genius fashion. It sits mightily among the best work from the peers mentioned above and others like Air, Zero 7, and Daft Punk. It's breathtaking and essential listening for all fans of electronic music.

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