The London-based Alt Rockers JellyCopter are back with a new record, Cease and Desist, and they have high aspirations for it.
JellyCopter’s sound is deeply rooted in American origins. The bright, sweet major progressions synonymous with Country music, and a Jangly acoustic sound that’s inspired heavily by the organic, roomy sounds of R.E.M. The guitars are twangy and full of charisma, the drums and bass are groovy and amazingly in tune with one another. Let’s explore more.
Cease and Desist is all written in a very similar fashion. All songs use the open position chords on the guitar, making the album sound uniform and cohesive. Interesting? That’s subjective. What the album lacks in musical variety is made for in the department of attitude, and what it lacks in solid instrumental or vocal proficiency is made up for, again, in the department of attitude. Cease and Desist is an album that lacks essential things on the technical front, but the infectious grooves, compelling lyrics, and cohesion in songwriting do a very sufficient job in remedying this.
Some of the highlights include the title track’s twangy Classic Rock riffs that get scratchier and dirtier throughout the song until an amazing string arrangement kicks in, elevating the sound to a whole different plane. Lost on the Way has memorable singing, more Classic Rock riffing with a prominent sounding bass that’s charismatic and present, and an airy repeating part of the main riff that’s open and breathy and offers a beneficial contrast. The solo is smart and cool, it adds a lot to the personality of the song. He’s a Liar is perhaps where we first get introduced to the Countryside of JellyCopter’s music. A sweet-sounding composition with emotional progressions, more memorable vocals, and a haunting, hypnotic repeating ending that was rewarding and well executed. You Won’t Break My Heart Again has an energetic drum shuffle, and tasty overdriven guitars. The country-inspired sound is mostly solid on this one, but the flat vocals, a little too low for the singer to execute comfortably, are an Achilles heel to an otherwise rocking tune. Where You Lead I’ll Follow is another infectious groove with a compelling, multilayered riff, that’s sadly hampered by a messy vocal harmony part that battles for attention, causing confusion. Won’t Make the Same Mistake Again is a grandiose, sprawling closer with a rich alternative folk sound. Starting with an understated acoustic guitar and progressively grows with vocals (that stick to their part) and instrumental layers, bass, piano, then drums in an explosive crescendo before a long and satisfying fade out. Could have been improved with a better, more present mixing for the drum part, that sound way too docile for the accompanying fireworks.
The group vocals do this album a disservice. Often sounding out of order and scruffy, making it harder to pay attention to the main part. The drums falter here and there, and a few other minor, and not-so-minor details. Adding all together makes Cease and Desist, while perfectly compelling and ultimately enjoyable, flawed, and obviously so. Fans might not even notice any of this, but as a musician, I’m so excited to see how JellyCopter can navigate those shortcomings in future releases. With their solid songwriting vision, I’m 100% sure the output will be outstanding.