|Embellish: An Electronic Gem | Posted April 10, 2013
Although things have been a little slow for the pop/punk/rock fusionists Eleventyseven
lately, the group's frontman (Matt Langston) hasn't slowed down, choosing instead to focus on his playfully-named side project, The Jellyrox.
The Jellyrox's latest project is Embellish, an EP that is as sparkling and beautifully crafted as its name might imply. The project starts on a note of whimsical restlessness with "Someone Else," the slightly lonely lyrical voice stating, "I wake up wishing I was someone else, in a different circumstance, with a different set of plans / And I feel like the world expected someone else."
Although the subject of self-discontent is one usually seen as primarily a teenager topic, the expression of living in a world that demands we are liked by everyone is universally relatable. The song's bridge wraps up with a gentle but pointed push to look outside ourselves in order to escape discontent.
Through the verses of "Condo," Matt Langston provides an uncomfortably realistic look at adult life, complete with bills, housework, and accidentally putting a phone through the dryer. The chorus concludes wryly with Peter Pan-inspired youthfulness "I want a condo in Neverland."
"Rebel Tide" is more grounded, coming from the place where the reality of human need meets the supernatural. The songwriting is both ethereal and piercing in its lyrical imagery. The second verse captures a breathtakingly vulnerable moment in the lines, "praying like a child on Christmas Eve / Father, won't you raise the sun early? / I ask an awful lot of both my knees / just waiting for You."
That more mellow moment is countered by "Fade to Fiction," which maintains a more upbeat electronic tone despite lyrics dealing with themes of mortality, seeking purpose, and the transparent nature of human life. The vocals are both slick and frank, providing a solid human anchor amidst the glossy electro-pop layers. Both in the instrumentation choices and melody style, this track is very reminiscent of early Owl City.
"Twisted" deals with the darker side of teenage life, looking at the way self-destruction can so easily become validation. The song carries a note of caution beneath its candy-sweet musical surface, lamenting, "You think you're only worth what you can earn, what you can hold."
Continuing in the theme of identity established early on, the EP wraps up with "Your Oasis," which is a cathartic song about getting beyond the point of allowing yourself to be controlled by others' expectations. The verses take a much more stripped down, chill approach, though the rich electronic constructions return for the chorus.
If you've been looking for an electronic album that is as exceptional as it is unpretentious, this is a project for you. Between the shimmering synth builds and the whimsically young yet honest lyrics, this is a collection that truly shines. Blending just the right amount of reflection and tongue-in-cheek cleverness in the lyrics, Matt Langston has created an EP that is solid from beginning to end both musically and lyrically.
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