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Jelly Jam

2

Review by Gary Hill

Included in the prog section because of the line up (Ty Tabor (King's X John Myung (Dream Theater) and Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs), not necessarily the music, this is the second release from Jelly Jam. Frankly, if you don't have the first album, pick that one up first. It is a lot more consistent. While there are strong points here, the material towards the latter half of the album seems almost like things that were "left over" and slipped in as filler. If you have that first disc and enjoy it, by all means pick this one up. It is basically a second helping of a familiar commodity. Just don't expect it to be as filling as the first course.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Not Today
With a cool riff that feels like a cross between Zep and modern Crimson, this rocker features spoken vocals on the verses and a Kings Xish chorus. It's a solid opener.
Coming Round
This one stomps right in, more metal than the last one, even, but then drops to more sedate rock modes to carry forward. This one has somewhat of a mellower, modern alternative rock sound.
Empty
A Hendrix like sound on the guitar heralds this one in, and a sinewy sort of rhythmic structure comes in, becoming the central core of this cut, the best to this point. This has more of those spoken vocals, but it has such a steamy, dirty sound that it's purely awesome. They pump up the power on the chorus for good effective and this chunky cut is a sheer winner. The break is heavier than heavy and incredibly tasty, and then a meaty new insistent riff takes it forward from there.
Drop The Gun
This is an almost jazzy piece of jamming that has a dark and ominous tone, but is also spacey. It's a lot different than what has preceded it and a great change of pace that I like quite a bit. This ties in as an introduction to the next number.
Allison
This one comes in frantic and meaty, then drops to the more sedate verse segment to carry it forward. The texture on this one is creative and tasty. The chorus from the previous cut is carried into this one. The themes from that one really come into their full fruition here, and the heavy guitar solo segment has a classic power trio sound.
Maybe
This is more of a pop oriented, ballad rock song. It's cool, but a little light weight compared to some of the other stuff here. Still, they pump it up nicely at points. There are also a few more proggy moments to be had and some tasty guitar work.
She Was Alone
Here they kick it in a decidedly metallic format, but the vocal arrangement brings in some prog-like leanings here, as does the chorus break. This is one of the most unusual, if not catchy tracks here.
Angel or Devil
This is another cut that feels a lot like Kings X. While it's not bad, by this point a lot of the album is starting to feel the same. They put in an inspired performance, but the sameness is starting to wear a little heavy.
You Don't Need Me Anymore
Based on a pretty and intricate acoustic guitar mode, this one is a nice change of pace.
Runaway
This one feels like a punk rock number. It's another nice change of pace, even if not all that special. The rawness is good for variety, though, but it kind of feels like an unfinished demo at times.
War Is...
This is the most loud and metallic piece on the album. It's definitely a screamer, but also feels like it could have been a "left over."
Message
This is literally just an answering machine message that serves to end the disc.
 
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