The Jellyrox‘s self-titled five-track digi-EP is a joyful, dancey confection — 16 1/5 minutes of sheer escapism. And, with all the stressors (gushing oil, ground war, soaring heat), escapism is a valuable commodity.
The Jellyrox is the solo side project of Black Mountain-based musician Matt Langston, a founding member of Christian pop-rock band Eleventyseven. And there’s a certain element of the squeaky-clean, tween-approved Eleventyseven to be found in the Jellyrox. Take the song “Perfect Simplicity,” the album’s sweetest track. So much so, in fact, that it borders on cloying. It is to lead track “Mind Machine” what Kool & the Gang’s “Cherish” is to “Get Down On It.”
But about “Mind Machine”: the robotic, 80s-by-way-of-the-21st-century jam is straight dance floor fodder, in the best sense. Langston sings both lead and harmony, his falsetto effortless and disco-fantastic. Bonus: the lyrics are both hooky and thoughtful, “Shot down by a mind machine / it’s hard to find you when I’m still lost in me / sweet serenity, I need you more / yeah, I need you more.”
Upbeat, driving number “Rainy Day” calls to mind my spin class teacher who once told me that she was deamed “relentlessly perky” by a grouchy student. I, for one, am a fan of the chipper frame of mind, so the fun, fast pace of “Rainy Day” hits the right note for me. Not much about this song recalls the gloomy and lethargy of a long-term deluge, but Langston is a musician not a meteorologist.
“Starlight,” on the other hand, matches meteorological metaphor with music. A deeper, menacing bass line underscores a staccato, sparkly melody. Langston’s voice drips with vocoder, his lyrics are heartfelt and angsty: “You’ve got a heart like starlight, shining away.”
Langston tells Xpress that he plans to book the Jellyrox shows in the fall, so check back here for updates.
Listen to “Starlight” here: