You might think that Lemon Jelly have gone all mainstream dance for their second album, judging from the the early Chemicals Brothers style grind of "Come Down On Me". Even more so when a vocalist enters that recalls John Lydon's declamations on Leftfield's "Open Up". That's partially a red herring, as we're soon returned to the head-nodding, easy-spirited downtempo that we got used to on "Lost Horizons". Starting from "Come Down on Me", their clockwork loops are gently built up with doodling little acoustic guitars and pianos. There's still enough bass and beats to keep it on the dancy side away from ambient.
Most of the tracks are based on a single vocal sample that repeats the title, and without any of the wacky voiceovers like on "Lost Horizons". Just loops that drift onwards, shifting and floating around the listener without drawing the attention too much. The harder core returns occasionally like on "Shouty Track", but it mostly achieves its chilled-out aim.
On the whole it is more conventional than their first, and often quite poppy. "Only wanna make things right", insists a sampled female singer, with easy listening earnestness, over a doodling Air-like backing. A floaty wordless vocal gives "Stay With You" a nice but routine dance-pop feel. There are some distinctive gestures amidst their chilled loopery, like the shuffling close-harmony "chugga-chugga" singing on "Slow Train". Also "Go" has some great imposing orchestral touches and a grandly anthemic rhythm-guitar ending, as well as some hammy whisperings by William Shatner.
But although some might find "64-95" less gimmicky than "Lost Horizons", their productions are now merely pleasant. I would have welcomed more of the kind of inspiration that produced kaleidoscopic jazz collages like "Return to Patagonia".
August 25, 2005