Jelly Shot: FRANKIE AND MASOUD’S CLUED-IN REVIEWS
Published on January 19th, 2012 | by Frankie and Masoud
Frankie: What’s in the crock pot today Masoud?!
Masoud: Today we’re looking at Jelly Shot, Frankie. In their own words they are a ‘blues rock band from Kuwait, comprising of 4 musicians from a wide variety of musical backgrounds’. The EP is ‘Suit Yourself’ and has 5 original tracks on it and one cover. Except I can’t see the cover on the submitted link anymore so we’re just reviewing the 5 tracks today.
Frankie: Here’s a bit of learnin’ for you ignorant fruitflies. EP stands for Extended Play and therefore contains more than a single but not more than 25 minutes worth of tracks in total – speaking generally. This is of course different from an LP which is Long Play. Don’t ever say we never taught you anything.
Masoud: Back to Business. Jelly Shot. Inspired name! Inspired Band Logo! Inspired EP cover! The band picture just strikes so many right chords for me. I mean, I suppose there is no real connection between Jelly shots, Martial arts and the Blues… but it works for me.
Frankie: Agreed. If Mr. Miyagi and Elroy Blues had produced lovechildren, Jelly Shot would be them. So four thumbs up for image. Also great EP title – very tongue-in-cheek. A joke that doesn’t work as well without the band picture. Very intelligent. Let’s move onto the music. We’re taking it for granted that Kuwait has a long way to go in terms of production. The opening Track is Cork it and straight away I can feel that Blues Rock energy. Solid riffs, solid song-writing, well crafted lyrics. I hate to compliment anyone before breakfast but I am really impressed with the lyrics. But Oh my soggy underpants! What happened to the vocals on this track? They’re all over the place, strained, not hitting the note – I wonder if the singer had just woken up with a head cold or it’s supposed to sound like bad karaoke. Maybe they’re going for a Gogol Bordello feel. But that’s not really my cup of sangria.
Masoud: I will agree that the vocals let this track down… but taking your attention away from that for a moment, I think this track is exceptional in that, in spite of being a rock out number, it does capture a groove in the instrumental section and deals with it sensitively. This section is exactly the right length of time to let your instruments do the talking. Loved it. I also like the idea of everyone yelling out ‘Cork it’ for the chorus. It really reminds me of some good old hair metal choruses and I think it fits in pretty well.
Frankie: Finest Thing Alive. Classic 12 bar blues pattern. Again we’re having issues with vocals but the reason I want to highlight this track is for the guitar playing. This is a classic example of a guitar playing waaaay too much. For a band that portrays cool so well, I want to hear less desperation. Hold back a little. A decent blues guitarist will be staring greatness in the face when he learns to make use of rests, silences and long notes. A lot of the time, what you don’t play is as important as what you do play. Make every note count – I mean really feel that blues. Live in those silences, soft and long notes for a while. Rapid-fire playing in blues is like salt. Too much and the whole meal’s a cock-up.
Masoud: Listen to lots of blues, some BB King leads maybe. He loves his rests. Just Youtube him, listen to The Thrill is Gone. Some Pink Floyd to cover the rock end of things. You’ll get the idea soon enough. It’s the same problem with Katy J. This is by far my favourite track on the EP. Every single time I listened to it, I started bopping my head. It just has that feel good thing going on. The vocals on this track are really quite good. The songwriting again, very good. The drums? They’re doing a bit too much a bit too loudly and taking away from the essential groove. And yes the guitar lead again – no space to take a breath.
Frankie: Yes, exactly! So far this song has been all about singing the blues and taking some poignant sighs in between each line but then it feels like some guy strung out on meth decides to jump in the middle of it all and do his tap dance routine – TWICE.
I’d like to hear this song re-recorded with only one lead section. I also think there’s space in there for what one might call a ‘classic’ lead – one that sticks in your head. The track ended abruptly which makes me think that ending after the quiet section might be ideal… or else maybe a fade out on the second solo. But Masoud, I have to agree with what you said about the quality of this song and the vocals. He sounds a little bit like that guy from Sublime.
Again with Dust Storm Blues – I have the same complaint about the guitar. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting frustrated by it at this point. Surely playing less is easier than playing more? I’m also noticing a sort of fondness for ascending patterns that repeat, but never seem to stop. I love the subject matter of dust storms though. This is what makes Jelly Shot a homegrown band. I’ve been trapped in one of those dust storms myself and let me say, it ain’t pretty. Vocals on this track are average I would say.
Masoud: Come on Frankie I know you got something positive to say about The Jam.
Frankie: Yes. I liked it. It had some great riffs, some fantastic rhythmic interplays. It was very well thought out and structured. Again If I had to fault anything it would be the solo guitar bits but because most of the song was riff based, that intrusion was minimal. But yes I did really enjoy this track, what can I say I’m a sucker for good instrumental tracks.
Alright. Time for the overall verdict. Masoud?
Masoud: In summary, Jelly Shot are a smart-looking band with a great image and just the right amount of quirk. Some good lyrics and intelligent songwriting with plenty of colourful imagery and bluesy attitude means that yes Jelly Shot are a bona fide blues rock band.
Frankie: Where this EP lacks is obvious, obvious, obvious and therefore easily corrected. Lead guitars, I’m not saying you need to take some heroin but I am saying ease up and hold back with infinite restraint. Even to the point that you can’t stand it. Listen to lots of blues. I know your genre is blues rock but still, don’t just listen to stuff that confirms rapid-fire playing. Feel the emotion not the anxiety. Breathe with it and when you want to say nothing at all, say nothing at all. Refuse to play even if they threaten to kick you out of the band. Then Mr. Miyagi will know you are ready for that sacred note.
Masoud: Ummm yes… again with the Mr Miyagi. Except for Katy J and The Jam, all the other tracks need considerable improvement when it comes to vocals. I suggest voice lessons, since things like hitting the note and wavering are correctible with a little bit of training and confidence. Also don’t push your voice beyond where it’s comfortable – yet. But this is a GOOD EP make no mistake. Very interesting and worth listening to.
Frankie: And If it were just that little bit better, I would actually pay my hard earned cash towards buying two copies, one for when I’m at home and one for the car. Right now I’d try to download it for free.
Masoud: Either way, keep representing local blues. You guys are onto something good – with the potential of becoming very good. I’d like to see the next step. And to you folks at KM, we’ll see you next time around. Adios!