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LEMON JELLY
Lost Horizon
5016020616
XL Recordings 2002
08 Tracks. 60mins00secs

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What is it about Lemon Jelly that has captured the imagination of thousands of people in the past four years? With three very limited EPs released on their own label, Impotent Fury, between August 1998 and July 2000, Nick Franglen and Fred Deakin caught some of the end-of-the-century flavours by shaping simplistic chilled orchestrations around ever more basic melodies. Signed to XL Recordings shortly after the release of the third EP, the band collected all three releases on one beautifully packaged album, Lemonjelly.ky, allowing them to finally reach a wider audience.
Too often associated with Air, with no good reason whatsoever, Lemon Jelly have raised down-tempo dance music to an art, purposely getting control over every last minute detail, from the music of course to the promotional material and artwork. Their music might have become ubiquitous, being used on countless TV programs and advertisement, but they remain singularly in the shadow of their work.
The pair met a while back in North London and became friends for a while before going their separate ways. While Fred Deakin was spinning incongruous records around London and Edinburgh and setting up his own graphic design studio, Airside, Nick Franglen gave up a career as a landscape gardener to become a studio programmer, working with the likes of Hole, Pulp, Blur or Björk. When they got reacquainted, it was time for them to create their own version of dance music – that is one you don’t need a dance floor for. Followed the three aforementioned rare ten-inch singles Bath EP, Yellow EP and Midnight EP, together with a string of even rarer seven inches, which, these days go for a fortune of Ebay.
Two years on and Lemon Jelly are finally releasing their first proper album. Lost Horizon comes once again in luxurious packaging, partly designed by Deakin. The album, which clocks at precisely sixty minutes, collects eight tracks built around the same concept of dance music. Using a wide range of vocal samples to give their gentle melodies a disconcerting twist, Franglen and Deakin create the infectious soundtrack for a late summer afternoon. If Lemonjelly.ky appeared at times disjointed, Lost Horizon was conceived as a full-length record, and therefore is more coherent. The music themes follow a same path, with luscious orchestrations developing over the length of this record, evolving from one track to the next almost imperceptibly. From the space odyssey of the first single, Space Walk, to the amusing walk in the park of Nice Weather For Ducks and the sixties TV soundtrack influences on Return To Patagonia, which revisits Homage To Patagonia from the Yellow EP, Lemon Jelly’s tightly held compositions reflects the sense of humour of the pair and their creative line. Despite them drawing on clichés, their music remains exceptionally evocative and fresh. Elements, one of the strongest opening moments heard on a record for a while, kicks in in perfect Lemon Jelly style, developing from a mild guitar line into a dramatic multi-layered extravaganza concluding with an oboe drawing smoke circles above the main body of the track. Other highlights include the brilliant Rumblin’ Man, described by the band as a tribute to Clarke Gable, and the ambitious The Curse Of Ka’Zar, with its smoky jazz-club atmosphere and sixties references.
With this first album, Lemon Jelly re-assert their place as Britain’s coolest band. Their music is at once familiar and disconcerting, simple yet elaborate, down-to-earth yet evocative. Sometimes reminiscent of the ingenious sonic formations of early Pink Floyd yet perfectly adapted to today’s world, Lost Horizon deserves to sit proudly amongst the cream of classic British albums.

5/5

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TRACKLIST
Elements
Space Walk
Ramblin' Man
Return To Patagonia
Nice Weather For Ducks
Experiment Number Six
Closer
The Curse Of Ka'Zar
LEMON JELLY Discography
THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO LEMON JELLY
Lemon Jelly
XL Recordings
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