Long before they were famous for Nice Weather for Ducks, Lemon Jelly started their career with a series of 10″ singles, which, with some slight reworking, would ultimately become 2000’s Lemonjelly.ky. As with their other two albums, the original comes in impeccable packaging, so right from the start you’ll find it difficult not to be charmed.
Having finally opened the package, the album opens with the brilliant In the Bath, a lovely chilled out piece with just the occasional vocal interlude, enquiring “what do you do in the bath?” in various sampled forms. It’s followed by Nervous Tension, which uses a self-help tape as the backbone for an entirely pleasant relaxing piece of music.
The sound of the sea elephant (and he’s a big fellow, apparently) brings us to the curiously named A Tune for Jack, which with its rippling piano parts has to be one of the most iconic and memorable pieces on here. But they’re so relaxed that they can easily drift by, and His Majesty King Raam is upon you before you know it.
The Staunton Lick is next, as featured in Spaced. You would never necessarily know this when listening to the album, but we’re actually running through the three debut EPs in order here, and The Staunton Lick forms the centrepiece of the second, The Yellow EP. It’s difficult not to love this track – it could really fit anywhere. On Spaced it’s background music, albeit to a particularly key scene. As a listener, you could enjoy it as catchy pop music, or as simple ambient music.
That, I think, is the key to Lemon Jelly. Their curious blend of found sounds and catchy pop can be listened to pretty much anywhere, and essentially in any situation.
Homage to Catalonia is next, a gentler, more ambient piece, which one could easily accuse of going nowhere, but it’s also entirely enjoyable. When it breaks down to just the bass towards the end, it goes right through you, before passing the baton to Kneel Before Your God. Perhaps one of the less adventurous tracks on here, it burbles along nicely with the occasional interlude for sinister laughter, which finally takes over completely right at the end.
Page One could easily be missed by the inattentive as well, although the somewhat daft vocal samples help it stand out a little, and final track Come is laid back in the extreme. By the last couple of tracks, this album might have passed its best, but it still has a lovely atmosphere to offer.
I’ve mused before about how disappointing it is that Lemon Jelly appear to have cut their careers so short – after a couple of years’ build up, Lemonjelly.ky appeared in 2000, followed by their first studio album Lost Horizons in 2002, and the darkly intriguing ’64-’95 in 2005. But with that, they were gone, and that’s a great shame, as they were really rather good, and Lemonjelly.ky got them off to a great start.
You can still find Lemonjelly.ky all over the place, but you might struggle to find the original packaging. Do so if you can!