Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Complex power pop from Jellyfish

I’m going back into the vault today to review an old power pop classic from Jellyfish called, “Spilt Milk.”  Jellyfish have a short but convoluted history. The band was a collection of amazing talent, so perhaps it’s not that surprising that it didn’t last long. Jason Falkner was a band member, though frustration with being just the guitar player led him to quit the band before “Spilt Milk.” He went on to play with The Grays, TV Eyes, Beck, and released a lot of great solo music. Singing drummer Andy Sturmer was also a member. After Jellyfish broke up in 1994, he became a producer, writer, and session musician for bands like Puffy AmiYumi and a bunch of shows on Cartoon Network. After the breakup, keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.’s played with Imerial Drag, TV Eyes, Beck, Blink-182 and others. They were a talented bunch whose music obviously displayed the influence of Queen, XTC, Cheap Trick, and, of course, The Beatles.

No use crying. The band broke up 17 years ago.

Jellyfish’s first album, “Bellybutton,” was clean, simple pop that charted a hit, ‘Baby’s Coming Back,’ though that’s not my favorite track on the album. Their second album was much more complex and highly produced. It featured many different instruments and a variety of sounds. The Queen influence on “Spilt Milk” is so obvious it is nearly an homage and the album was roundly criticized for it. Personally, I didn’t mind. 6 of the disc’s 12 tracks have a permanent home on my iPod.

  • Joining a Fan Club – A creative piece about infatuation with a shooting star teen idol. The bass is heavy and the harmony vocals have more layers than a baklavah.
  • New Mistake – The core of this song is a simple pop melody about a new baby, but the arrangement is complicated, featuring layered melodic lines decorated with glockenspiel, tubular bells, and violins.
  • All Is Forgiven – This is the most obviously Queen-influenced song on the album, hearkening unapologetically back to ‘Death on Two Legs.’
  • Russian Hill – This is such a beautifully crafted song. It has steel guitar, strings, brushed snare drum, and a great flute solo. The lyrics build to an uplifting payoff too. It might be my favorite track on the album.
  • He’s My Best Friend – Is there any love so pure as the love of a man for his penis? One of my two favorite love songs from a guy to his junk.
  • Brighter Day – This 6-minute song feels alternately like a parade and a circus, which is appropriate for the lyrics. It’s a great closer.

This was their last album as a band, but I would encourage you to check out any of the work any of the band members put out after this project.

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May 26, 2010 - Posted by | Popular, Rock

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