Spilt Milk

Jellyfish

Charisma Records, 1993

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jellyfish_%28band%29

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/19/2014

Had Spilt Milk been released in 2014, I feel pretty comfortable in saying it would have ended up on a great many top ten albums lists. As much as some try to claim that rock music is still viable as a genre, the results just don’t back that assertion up. Pop rules the day, and a backward-leaning pop record such as Spilt Milk would have people fawning all over it.

I can see though how 1993 was not an environment in which there was a chance of that type of success for Jellyfish. There were not too many Beach Boys, Queen, or Beatles inspired bands ruling the charts at the time, and the power pop bands that we are familiar with today still had a few years before they arrived on the scene. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Spilt Milk is quite the fish out of water story, and one would have to think that’s the primary reason that it’s not exactly well remembered.

After listening to Spilt Milk a few times, a modern day comparison came to mind: Panic At The Disco’s 2008 album Pretty. Odd. It is quite eerie how similar in tone and approach the two albums are, especially considering the 15 year gap in between their releases. Both take great inspiration from the pop albums of the ‘60s, but Spilt Milk has a more expansive sound and to be perfectly honest, better song crafting. There are also ties to groups such as Guster or Fountains Of Wayne. I would argue that Fountains Of Wayne is more modern-sounding across the board, but still this is all a kind of music that for the longest time wasn’t being made and clearly made an impression on what we’re hearing today.

It’s easy to notice just when Jellyfish is paying tribute to the big guns. The Beach Boy’s inspired a capella opener “Hush” sets the tone perfectly; these guys are aiming high. “Sebrina, Paste And Plato” captures that irreverence of the Beatles mixed with the crisp, clean sounds of a song like “Penny Lane.” But to their credit, these moments of ‘60s pop don’t dominate the album –there are also some outstanding ‘90s rock singles. “Joining A Fan Club” touches on a lighter side of Ben Folds Five, while “Glutton Of Sympathy” and “All Is Forgiven” could have seen airplay at the time as well.

It is startling to listen to Spilt Milk and realize just how easily it could have been released this year. Normally, one would listen to an album from 1993 and it would be dated in terms of sound and style (How often does grunge play Top 40 these days?). But Spilt Milk avoided those pratfalls, and while it may not have achieved success upon its release, it most certainly is still worth your time.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2014 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Charisma Records, and is used for informational purposes only.