Impotent Fury - 2005 - 52 minutes
If any word describes Lemon Jelly's output to date, it's nice. And I don't mean 'The Fast Show's Jazz Club-approving low burr of "nice", or the approving American exclamation of "NICE!".
Just nice. As in OK. As in inoffensive. As in grand. As in a nice cup of tea.
Jelly's bland ambience, softly-softly guitar samples and dreaded 'quirky' vocals often made for dull listening on their first two albums, and while '64 to '95' marks a step away from this cosy cul-de-sac, the duo show that these are hard habits to break.
''64 to '95's conceit is that each song is built around one sample from a song from a particular year, the year that is mentioned in the track's title. As an idea it's fine, although given the obscurity of the samples involved, there's little fun to be had spotting snippets of the originals.
'Come Down On Me' gets the album off to a thunderous start. What's this? Acidic loops, pounding power-chords? The Jelly have thrown off their kaftans and decided to RAWWWWKKK! And, surprisingly enough, they pull it off on this epic opener.
But by 'Only Time' those hateful acoustic strummings are back. There's a great musical movement blending the guitar with electronics, from the percussive sweep of Four Tet to the dreamy romanticism of Dublin's Chequerboard. But Lemon Jelly aren't really bothered - they just lay on the acoustic guitar when they can't think of anything else to do, and the result is predictably lazy-sounding.
There are a few bright spots, 'Don't' Stop Now' takes Atlantic Ocean's euphoric rave-a-thon 'Waterfall' and turns it into an intensely burning slow-builder. But then it's back to the jangle-jangle on 'Make Things Right'.
In 'National Lampoon's Animal House', John Belushi grabs an acoustic guitar from the hands of a painfully sincere folksinger and summarily smashes it against the wall. If the man were still alive I'd send him straight down to the Lemon Jelly studio.
Tracklisting: '88 AKA Come Down On Me - '68 AKA Only Time - '93 AKA Don't Stop Now - '95 AKA Make Things Right - '79 AKA The Shouty Track - '75 AKA Stay With You - '76 AKA The Slow Train - '90 AKA Man Like Me - '64 AKA Go