Monday, July 07, 2008

***The Jellydots***

I love to connect everything musical to the Beatles, thus the following analogy: Doug Snyder's first CD as The Jellydots could be considered his A Hard Day's Night, and his latest, Changing Skies, his Revolver.

Snyder's 2006 debut, "Hey You Kids!", is giddy to the point of, well, if you had a vinyl copy the needle would laugh itself off the record. The lyrics and music on Changing Skies, though, aren't afraid to explore and express deeper, even darker, feelings. People grow up. Kids grow up. Little fans of "Hey You Kids!" aged a couple of years since that release, and Doug's songs have matured accordingly.

Sure, there are tunes like "Sunshine" (a rock and roll ode to the sun's healing rays) and "San Diego" (a fuzz bass-powered suggestion to make a new start in a new town) that are reminiscent of the Jellydots' first disc. But dig the message behind "Mountain" (taking chances in life) and the wry humor and in-jokes of "Art School Girl." And I love the incomprehensible lyrics of the superpoppy "Solo Echo" (about a lost alien?).

"Big Swingset" recalls fond memories of a favorite piece of playground equipment, while the Radiohead-like grind of "Sad Robot" tells a truly sad tale of a forgotten and out-of-commission robot who longs to contact the stars or even his Uncle Voyager, knowing that he's probably gonna be pulled apart and used to make a coffee table or a "high-tech ottoman."

The final five tunes on Changing Skies beautifully describe the emotional push and pull of loneliness, lost friendships, and enduring love. From the complete adoration of "Beautiful as You" to the sadness of "Remember Me," from the "have guitar will travel" melancholy of "Travelin' Man" to the soul mate sentiments of "When You were Born," to the gorgeous closing lullaby "Pretty Little Baby," the album is worth the last half alone.

Snyder stays at the top of the Kids' Music heap with Changing Skies by offering up a CD that everyone sitting around the stereo can dig, from preteens to grandparents. It's really cool that artists are thinking outside the "children's music" box; let's hope The Jellydots remain at the forefront of that movement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just got teh first Jellydots CD and I love it. This music fits right into my indie-based collection. In fact, if memory serves, I think my favorite indie radio station, KEXP, played the "Bicycle" song a lot a few years ago. I thought it might be too advanced for my three year old, but apaprently he is ready to make the leap from Dan Zane to a bigger rock sound. He responded to it right away. I will certainly buy the new CD with no hesitation.