Fading in, out of another consciousness, another
time, another space, transforming us to a level, nay, multiple levels, where
all that has been, is, and shall be, converge to enlighten our souls – Where “Say Hello” and “Don’t be too long” takes on the meaning of a known connection
throughout our existence within conscious and unconscious worlds. Jellyshirts live this, and they live to spread the word.
Stutta maps the journey of kindred souls. We meet them as
they spend a summer together, knowing it isn’t the first time that they have enjoyed
each other in a certain moment in time, and that it won’t be the last. They have
had many alternate lives that they have passed through together, and they have manage
to find each other’s company for as long as that moment in time has allowed
them to. Once they pass through this particular plane of being at this
particular point in time – “Sail On Sally”
- they know that they will have other opportunities – “Don’t be too long” - in other levels of consciousness, where they
can once again say Hello - “Hello, Sally”
and all will be right again.
Jellyshirts have a solid cohesiveness in which they operate as
one, yet each owns its space while feeding off and passing it along to each
other. It’s a spiritual plane on which they exist – They write masterpieces,
each within themselves instrumentally, yet so bonded in song structure. While
commonly acknowledged by the groups hardcore, loyal and devote followers, the
professional playing is a given. Bridging 2 millenniums, lead man Bret Logan (guitars, vocals, keyboards) has partnered with Scott McDonald (drums, vocals) for 20 years on a musical quest,
crusade if you may. Nick Appleby
(bass, vocals, keyboards) joined the crusade 13 years ago, and Jess Brauner (guitar) was added for the past 8 years to solidify
Jellyshirts for the 21st century. But, it is the
studio where Sail
On Sally emerges as a
rival to Pet Sounds and Rubber Soul (borrowing liberally with a kindred soul
aspect – Listen to spot the spot-on George Martin production homage’s). What Jellyshirts have done in the studio with their live spontaneous
powerful “pick –n –soar” elegance sets a standard of excellence rarely found on
an independently self-produced release.
Jellyshirts love to jam and fiddle with “at the moment”
improvised sessions that seem to develop out of nowhere (but are actually
taking place at many different points) – It also seems as though they have adopted
that same approach in the studio as well – And when the tape is rolling, we
sometimes get a gem like Wren Intro, a nice off-the-cuff jam that was inspired by the
song Wren itself. Almost Mid-Eastern flavored it would nestle
in nicely on Zep IV (think: Four Sticks, Going To California). Bret presses Jimmy Page here while McDonald’s finesse and power rival Bonham’s semi-syncopated
best and Appleby’s bass is not only solid John Paul Jones but also
gives off a heavy John Entwistle vibe. Wren then reaches across time planes and parallel levels
to places in which enlightenment is the greater good. Paths cross as if they
are meant to. And as with everything that is meant to be, it can and will happen
again and again in different time structures, and yeah, it is good.
The Velvet Underground plays a huge roll in the
sound structure favored by Jellyshirts. Bret Logan builds his own equipment to create what this
reviewer calls their “patented” pick-n-soar sound. The Main “Rig” favored by Bret is his self-designed front-end circuit, comprised
of a pre-amp/toner/compressor/limiter/distortion module – which gives him a
high-end, highly individual and recognizable tone that he alternately switches
to either a fuzzed out distortion or a hyper-compressed feedback washed sound. This is evident on the songs such as Brando and Erik. Brando pounces with a solid Velvets assault and wall of
sonic perfection proclaiming Jellyshirts as
the Velvets of our modern era. Erik drives us straight into either heaven or hell to
deliver a mystical, musical rendition of a tragic tale of an 10th
Jellyshirts also mix in a little Glam, a la Diamond Dog era Bowie and Mott The Hoople, by using a bouncing piano
underneath on Don’t Stop Me Now, a song that uses the music to build the courage to
meet your dreams head on – to dare the chance – and the music convinces us that
the task can be achieved. As the gospel choir rises to the plea of “stop me please, stop me, stop me” we
know that he doesn’t stop, and that he indeed experiences his dreams.
takes the pick-n-soar
guitar rock, combines it with a vintage 20’s microphone style vocal and angelic
harmonizing to extol the virtue of spontaneous love and the glorious benefits
of pursuing a euphoric Shangri-la within ones conscious life efforts. When Jellyshirts hit the soaring vocal homily of “Heaven… Heaven… Heaven… Heaven,” we
truly understand that Heaven can be found within a lifetime. That it can be
experienced in multiple lifetimes, or whatever it may account for in accordance
to your spiritual beliefs, if you allow it to.
Jellyshirts have crafted an album so diverse in it’s spectrum
of music and so representative of the artistic merit of the album format – that
to experience it, you must be willing to devote the time it takes to find each
and every nuance built into each track. Subsequent listens reveal a whole lot
more going on here then most 21st century ears are accustomed to.
Music is a medium so vastly misunderstood, its existence is more than just
sound, it is a gateway through time and dimensions. Witness Awake, a triple-shot, double-espresso run through the
mind of one facing the mortality of the loneliness of the moment. It tells us
that dreams should be actively sought out and achieved, because after all,
isn’t the happiness of any reality just as important as the one you choose to
experience it from/in? Jellyshirts
choose to experience it and pass it along through music, a medium older than
time itself. Prepare to absorb and enjoy this sensation as Jellyshirts present it to us.
It’s seems incomplete of me to not touch base on
songs such as In-Between (Multi-tracked vocals, 3-part harmonies, a major
Beatles/Beach Boys hybrid), F-You (a rare Cream/Blind Faith ballad), and
Willow, Somewhere Where, and Molly (lush, elegant, solidly alluring, part shoe gaze,
part The Smiths, part goth, intense,
solid prog, executed perfectly). These songs establish themselves and settle
into our sub-conscious in ways that are wonderful to experience.
Bruce is the
perfect closer for an album that has Jellyshirts making a statement of who they are. But in a way
we’re not fully ready for what is to be – And as the journey of The
the journey of Jellyshirts, we are effectively swept away…. Taste the drum and
bass lines teasing… the guitars dancing in unison as the keyboards ring
underneath – Then Bret hits the
Fuzz Box – Once the power overload has been reigned by Bret, Scott and Nick are right there to bounce us back into the story.
The next thing we know, we are soaring into lands unto before, never
experienced in this lifetime. We reach back and see forward, the harmonic accord
achieved sends us upon the ultimate journey culminating in a pure emotional
bliss – distortion melts into birds chirping and we take the simple pleasures
of a life we are currently experiencing and embrace them long enough to look
forward to experiencing them again in another place in time.
Sail On Sally transcends the boundaries placed on us within our
acknowledged reality. It is a journey that doesn’t necessarily conclude, but
does bring us to an enlightenment which began in 1989, continuing with Jellyshirts first release Rays To The Sun in ’95, followed by the shelved “lost” ’98 release Outside. Bridging the century, Outside was re-released in 2007 on a flashdrive format
(effectively re-introducing the band to fans that had been in waiting), and now
Sail On Sally brings us full circle. From the mechanical
re-imagining of the 1st LP’s cover, to the continuity of the
established sound, to the driving force behind the ideals, Jellyshirts have not altered their beliefs nor have they swayed
from the path. They continue from where they began without ever losing site of
their destination. Fading in, out of another consciousness, another time,
another space, transforming us to a level, nay, multiple levels, where all that
has been, is, and shall be, converge to enlighten our souls.
The album concludes with Virginia, a coda of mourning with a spirit that celebrates
death on par with that of celebrating life.
We are home.
Sail On, Sally.
*If you wish to explore Jellyshirts philosophy further a good place to start is the
Seth Speaks – The Eternal Validity Of The Soul - by: Jane
Sail On Sally by Jellyshirts
available now for $10.98 + s/h*
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