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January 21, 2005

Shortcut - Lemon Jelly's '64-'95

If you're looking to replicate the soundtrack of Gap, Banana Republic, and the rest of the chain department stores, then Lemon Jelly's new album has your name on it. The metronomic rhythms of their third album, '64-'95, have a distinctly clean, pulsating sound, with the two English DJs layering fresh beats, guitar cycles, and one-line lyrics that were first heard on songs made between 1964 and 1995.

While the samples Lemon Jelly use as the basis for their beats are eclectic, the cumulative effect is a sound that has little traction; it's terribly difficult to grab hold of the music and be impressed with the masterful mixing, and much easier to lose yourself in the river of mellifluence.

A little background on the jelly-makers: Nick Franglen and Fred Deakin knew each other from London, where Deakin made waves as a DJ and promoter, and Franglen bounced from landscaper to studio programmer and keyboard artist. The two came together in 1998, releasing their first album in 2001, lemonjelly.ky, which is also the address of the group's website.

A highlight of '64-'95 is "'93 aka Don't Stop Now," which interposes the three words with a pulsating beat, keyboard cycle, and segments of beeps that sound almost like a xylophone. The overall sound feels like a heart palpitating with the beat. It's intense and empty at the same time, and perfect for those stretches of busy work that require some amount of attention, but would be so much more enjoyable with a soundtrack¬ólike shopping at the mall.

¬óIsaac Wolf