Friday, February 24, 2012

The Jelly Jam - Shall We Descend

The Jelly Jam
Shall We Descend
(c)2012 Molken Music

This side project/super group comprised of Rod Morgenstein (ex-Dixie Dregs/Winger drummer), John Myung (Dream Theater bassist), and Ty Tabor (King's X guitarist and vocalist) has turned into a well-oiled machine for this being their third release. I've got to admit, I'm a sucker for Ty's Beatle-esque vocals. They generally sound fluid atop the crunchy King's X vibe, and harmonically breathe well over the prog-influenced hooks of The Jelly Jam. Finding this release was somewhat off the beaten path of popular download sites being at their homepage, but I'll take indie any day.

At times, they brush up against jam band vibes, but general stick to an accessible prog-rock formula. Hey, you can't abandon your roots, you know? "Who's Comin' Now" shoots out of the gate with a crunchy rhythm guitar, bare bones riff that serves as a nuance bed of tasty guitar licks. Less is more for the majority of the disc as the next two tracks, "Stay Together" and "Halos In Hell", play an almost ambient part that is best served through headphones, meaning an orchestral type of rise/fall/rise carries each song. When these guys rock full throttle, boy, do they rock! "Same Way Down" is much of the same, but kinda downtempo with good harmony. Tasteful guitar licks accompany simply well-mixed vocals consistently throughout to let each song breathe as it should. Fans of King's X should easily find enough here to identify with.

"March Of The Trolls" is an instrumental that caught me by surprise. Ty's background harmonies mix with industrial-toned loops that don't overpower the march. "Questions" is an ambient acoustic number that is haunting in its' delivery. The title song is a slow burn rocker with a mix of echoed vocals before the full onslaught of the chorus, not to mention the layered jam that builds in the song before gently fading away. Veteran rockers know how to craft quality in each song. "Come Alive" is a full on rocker that ends too soon. "Ten", the last song, is another instrumental tune where these guys finally let loose. At over 8:00, Ty's guitar is all about feeling the groove that Rod and John are laying down. I'm sure, these boys had a lot of fun playing together. It's pure heaven listening to this powerhouse trio!

9.5 of 10 clicks
February 2012

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