Band: Jelly Fiche
Band Website: www.jellyfiche.com
Label: Unicorn Digital
Label Website: www.unicorndigital.com
Release Date: 2011
Virtually every band faces the inevitable sophomore release dilemma. If you are going to record that second album there’s no avoiding it. In the past with record company pressure to follow up your first recording this hasn’t always worked out so good. Today however, and especially in the prog world where the bands are more and more calling the shots there seems to be a greater chance for a successful sophomore release. So it is with this new disc Symbiose from Quebec’s Jelly Fiche. The original trio came together in 2005 and now has grown to a quintet consisting of Syd (vocals), Jean-François Arsenault (guitars), Sly Auclair (bass), Thomas Brodeur (drums) and Sebastien Cloutier (keyboards). The band continues to draw on outside talent and carried over from the first disc is, among others, Eric Plante (keyboards, saxophones, electronic programming).
To paraphrase my first review of the band, in order to describe their sound you take elements of Morse Code, Harmonium, Ange and Pink Floyd, mix it all together then add a little heavier feel for this second release and viola – Jelly Fiche. Now in truth the band is much more than the sum of its influences; they have a truly distinctive sound which is very engaging. Symbiose starts off the instantly mesmerizing “Le Vide” [4:24] with it’s cinematic string background accents and multiple melodic shifts you are immediately drawn into the flow of the music. The first track slides effortlessly into “Expansion” [1:54] a soft acoustic interlude that sets up the pounding rhythmic foundation and distorted guitars that emerge to introduce “Genese” [4:54]. To say that Symbiose is a little heavier than their first release may miss the point, that the heavy parts are used judiciously for accents rather than simply to make an overall crunchier sound. Syd’s vocals, in French continue to rest front and centre and they’re first rate whether overtop of guitars or Mellotron sounds. His knack for writing and singing a melody line overtop of some complex instrumentation is a wonder. The band also manage to infuse their music, especially a track like “Au Nom d’Apo Calypso” [6:35] with their trademark ethnic music influences. The music of Jelly Fiche goes from aggressive to pastoral, electric to acoustic, melodic to dissonant but always maintains that delicate balance that is never distracting but rather keeps you listening.
Jelly Fiche has really made a statement with Symbiose. Without tying their symphonic sound to the past they’ve created a modern symphonic prog masterpiece that hits all the right notes. These guys are good. This disc has just the right mix of all the elements that make progressive rock great so once again Jelly Fiche gets my highest recommendation.