77:78's debut, Jellies, is a rather tentative foray into the kind of prismatic, reggae- and jazz-colored psych-rock that Aaron Fletcher and Tim Parkin mastered with their previous band, the Bees. The weightless “Poor It Out” offers a glimpse of what the duo is capable of when they adorn simple yet memorable melodies with psychedelic flourishes: A gentle guitar riff seamlessly gives way to cascading brass during the chorus, with a dreamy trumpet solo at the song's climax. But tracks like opener “If I'm Anything” and lead single “Love Said (“Let's Go)” are somehow both labored and half-baked, suffering from unimaginative and weary-sounding melodies that feel lackluster when juxtaposed with glittery synth motifs. The latter half of Jellies is dedicated in large part to a bizarre detour into brash Tex-Mex-influenced beach rock that is, at best, intentionally kitschy and, at worst, obliviously gaudy. An incessant surf-guitar lick and dime-store synth underpin the otherwise catchy “Chilli.” The result is a playful jive that, however entertaining, is as garish as a Hawaiian shirt. When the Bees first made their debut, the U.K. band mesmerized with their far-reaching fusions of jazz, tropicalia, reggae, and psychedelic rock. Comparatively, 77:78 sees Fletcher and Parkin opting to merely dip their toes into such heterogeneity, yielding music with a far narrower scope and failing to break fresh ground.
- Release Date
- July 6, 2018
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