vrijdag 11 mei 2018

Skeletons. Jellephant

Listening to Skeletons the feeling of a lazy free day off with nothing to do creeps up on me. Like Jellephant is playing its music in this frame of mind. The mood is so relaxed, the music almost of a slacker quality (if such a thing exists). The singing is the superlative degree of slacker.

Next I start noticing the details in the music of Jellephant and I know it is just the atmosphere of the songs putting these ideas into my mind. The music holds so many fine details, all in the right places, that I know there's nothing wrong with the work ethic of Jellephant. There's simply so much to enjoy on this record.

Jellephant is a singer-songwriter called Jelle Haagsma from Arnhem and has released several albums before Skeletons; that all passed me by. Luckily for me this changed recently. Haagsma created all this music in his basement and got help with the drums (Erik Oexman), incidental guitar parts and harmony vocals. All the rest is played and recorded by himself.

Having to describe the music, I hear so many influences it's nearly impossible to go into them all. It all starts in the psychedelic era of the 60s, yet in a very downcast way, as if when the trip is over and the headache remains. This gives some of his songs a feeling of immense depth, to never to return from. At the same time there is some desert music in there, let's call it Calexico or Lee Hazelwood, as well as mid-80s The Jesus & Mary Chain, if I strip away the extreme noise that the band laid over its debut album and a downsized and sped surf rock country twang. Just to mention some extremes you can find here and then that warm Hammond organ enters the mix.... In The Netherlands Jellephant fits right in with Indian Askin, M-Jo, Jacco Gardner. A rather strong set, I'd say.

Promo photo with The Phantoms
In the sound a lot of echos, reverbs and delay is used giving the guitar sound a broad and extremely spacious effect filling up large portions of Jellephant's general sound. A sound I like to wallow in. It's warm and caressing. At the same time there's always a basis of an acoustic guitar somewhere to be found.

As I already wrote, the singing of Haagsma is totally laid back. There's no hurry whatsoever. Just take him at face value and let him take you on the musical trip Skeletons is. Follow the little guitar lines that erupt here and there, notice all the stompboxes in use and let yourself be caressed by the Hammond. The singing leads you to all these refreshing and at times amazing moments.

The surprise is that there are a few instrumentals among the lot. One extremely short, perhaps an interesting motif that was laying around that was not going anywhere (else). So enjoy 'Fucker' for what it is, a pleasurable short musical composition around a nice motif.

Before I know it the album is over, once again. Ending with that slow, yet invigorating guitar part surrounded by a Hammond in 'I Looked Up And Saw The Sky'. I can imagine the surprise after looking up and seeing the basement's ceiling during all the sessions leading up to Skeletons.

Click, and the albums starts again with that delightful slow riff of 'TV'. Totally relaxed.


You can listen to and buy Skeletons here:


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