Even though The Jelly Jam boasts members of Dream Theater (bassist John Myung) and the Dixie Dregs (Rod Morgenstein), on The Jelly Jam 2, this melodic power trio sounds most like anything in which guitarist/vocalist/producer Ty Tabor (King's X) has been involved. The aggressive opener "Not Today" recalls latter-day King's X, "Coming Round" and "Maybe" could have been lifted from one of Tabor's two solo albums, "She Was Alone" echoes the music on Jughead (another Tabor side project) and "Angel or Devil" revels in the King's X classic signature sound. Of course, influences from Myung and Morgenstein can also be heard, as The Jelly Jam 2 grooves with heavy bass and intricate rhythms, providing a thick undercurrent for Tabor's Beatles-eque harmonies.
Biggest surprise: "War Is … ," a manic track that ventures into metal territory around which The Jelly Jam has previously only pranced. Wild vocals and lots of hi-hatting make this easily the most uncharacteristic song (musically and lyrically) that The Jelly Jam has ever released.
Lyrically, Tabor began exploring deeply personal territory in his music a few years ago, amidst the ashes of a burned-out marriage. He continues that intropective trend here, with lyrics that often portray lives spiraling out of control in such songs as "Allison," "Maybe" and "Runaway."
That said, a few tracks sound too similar to each other, and it's easy to consider for a few moments that the veteran players in The Jelly Jam may simply be going through the motions, trying to keep busy as they get older. But after a few more spins, when The Jelly Jam 2 really starts to get sticky and tasty, you just might realize that this record is the sound of three restless and creative spirits who simply can't seem to stop making decent music.
1) Not Today
2) Coming Round
4) Drop the Gun
7) She Was Alone
8) Angel or Devil
9) You Don't Need Me Anyway
11) War Is …