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The Jelly Jam - The Jelly Jam CD (album) cover

THE JELLY JAM

The Jelly Jam

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.75 | 40 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ben2112
4 stars After Derek Sherinian left Platypus, the other three guys decided to continue to work together on this King's X/Dream Theater side project. What you will immediately notice is that it sounds very little like Platypus, but instead a lot more like King's X with a better rhythm section. Rod Morganstein's incredible, busy drumming meshes with John Myung's way-more-up-front-than-Dream Theater bass to give Ty Tabor's muscular guitar riffs a solid foundation to weave in and out of some excellent rock and roll songs with a psychedelic edge.

The album kicks off with "I Can't Help It", a propulsive rocker driven by John's thunderous bass and Ty's chunky guitar and Lennon-esque vocals. The song is pretty straightforward, and not really prog in any way, but it's powerful, melodic and satisfying, which you could really say about this entire album.

Next is "No Remedy", another fairly heavy song with a killer Hendrix-like wah wah riff and nice vocal harmonies. It also has a lovely vocal interlude that harkens to the Beatles' Abbey Road era, followed by a sparse section punctuated by some absolutely mindboggling drum fills. If you are a fan of great drumming, you should definitely give this album a listen.

Track 3 is called "Nature", but it's really just an intro to track 4, "Nature's Girl", which is my favorite of the album. This is classic Ty Tabor guitar pyrotechnics here, with a blistering intro riff and a similar verse riff doubled by John. Just when you think the song can't get any "hotter", the much more "pretty" chorus transports you back to Beatles-land. There is also a section where John's bass playing is highly reminiscent of Chris Squire's. Good stuff.

Next is "Feeling", a pretty good song, but not as good as tracks 1, 2 & 4. It does have another very appealing and soft chorus with beautiful harmonies and another Abbey Road- like bridge. I realize that I am mentioning the Beatles in just about every song, but it really does seem as if Ty is channeling John Lennon in pretty much every project he does, particularly when you take King's X bassist/vocalist Doug Pinnick out of the picture. The lyrics are a little on the goofy side though.

Track 6, "Reliving", is a bittersweet song about carefree childhood days. Yet another great vocal showcase for Ty, although this song is one of the more mellow tracks on the album, and the one your girlfriend is most likely to enjoy (apologies to all you female proggers out there). It is also one of a handful of songs on the album that contain a fabulous guitar solo. I really love Ty's playing, and it's very good here.

The title track come next, a long, meandering, very ambient instrumental piece with mesmeric bass lines and psychedelic guitar flourishes. It is probably the most "prog" on the album, but I find it a bit boring overall.

"I Am The King" starts with some African-styled drum figures and more Squire-ish bass lines. Another track that could easily have been done by the Fab Four, it's another tasty "pop" song somewhat similar to "Reliving".

"The King's Dance" is a sort of short instrumental continuation of the previous song. Great playing here from all three, but Ty really shines. The song has a very laid-back, psychedelic vibe running through it which I enjoy a great deal.

The last track on the album, "Under The Tree", starts off with a weird phased pick-scraping effect by Ty accompanied by some party chatter a la "Welcome To The Machine". After the intro, the guitar takes on a sitar-like quality, and the vocals remind me of Porcupine Tree (as does much of the album actually). Rod rounds things out with heavily eastern drum stylings. The album closes out by reprising the "Nature" guitar part.

This album really surprised me when it came out, as it was completely dissimilar to Platypus, but it ended up being probably my favorite album of 2002. I really debated on the rating I would give; it nearly got 5 stars. But since this is a prog site, and it really isn't terribly "proggy", I gave it 4. If I could have, I would give 4.5. If you're interested in giving Jelly Jam a try, get this one, as their second album is not nearly as good. Fans of bands such as Porcupine Tree & obviously King's X will probably find much to like here; just don't go in expecting symphonic or prog metal.

Ben2112 | 4/5 |

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