This is not a review of the content of this record, I would say that it is my 3rd favourite record of all time and would not hesitate to give it five stars. My opinion in this 'review' is based on the quality of the reissued vinyl, of which I have obtained the hard to find GREEN VINYL.
First off, I will say that if anything lets this album down it is the mastering (including the CD). On the tracks where there are a lot of things going on, the clarity of the instruments gets lost in the mix. For instance, the verses of 'Sebrina' sound teriffic, but once the chorus kicks in, as well as the other multi layered parts, it's where the only disappointing moments occur. The bass suffers as a result, i.e. the kick drum and bass guitar. The balance in songs like 'Russian Hill' and 'Bye, Bye. Bye', which (by Jellyfish standards) are very straightforward, is spot on, whereas 'all is Forgiven' sounds messy and lightweight!
My original vinyl was pressed on very low grade wax and was one of the worst sounding records I've ever owned, sonically speaking.
When I heard about these reissues, I immediately did all I could to get hold of the coloured vinyls (Bellybutton has also been reissued on blue vinyl), so I have to admit that when I saw the sticker on the cover stating the new vinyl was cut using 'the original masters', my heart sank. There is NO remastering going on here and it's here that we lose a star. The packaging is very nicely done, much nicer than the lacklustre 1993 UK release. The vinyl is a rich, clean green on heavyweight vinyl. Much like the original pressing, the mix on this reissue is VERY quite! It seems that it had been mastered at a lower level as to allow the climax of 'All is Forgiven' to play out without distorting, this seems to be the case as the remainder of the album is actually louder!!
A remaster of this record was ESSENTIAL and I believe that despite the technology in 1993 being pretty decent, there were so many layers to the arrangements that mistakes were made by the people responsible for the final mix and therefore could have been put right for an otherwise faultless release.
The second, and final release, from the much loved Jellyfish isn't as good as their debut Bellybutton, but it's still a worthy four star powerpop powerhouse. Guitarist and songwriter Jason Falkner left to pursue a solo career leaving Roger Manning to battle on as defacto leader and frontman. Thankfully Spilt Milk is a very good record. The Beatley influences are still in evidence but now the shadow of ELO and Queen loomed large over all the tracks. 'Ghost At Number 1' and 'New Mistake' were both minor UK hits and are sparkling pop/rock gems - soaring harmonies and giant chorus's to the fore. 'He's My Best Friend' sounds uncannily like a lost Squeeze classic and the lovely 'Russia Hill' and 'All Is Forgiven' are simply gorgeous. Humour is much in evidence in Manning's lyrics and his erudite way with a tongue in cheek couplet puts him up there with the best of the 90's. Spilk Milk is a beautifully crafted record and the attention to detail is faultless. It is sometimes way to smart for it's own good but, a couple of fillers aside, the songs are so strong and catchy that you can't fail to be seduced by the beauty of it all. If you like ELO, Badfinger, Razorlight, The Feeling, Fountains Of Wayne and Pugwash then Spilk Milk is a vital addition to your collection.
It's really easy to treat this as pop-pap, listen to the tunes and think that bubblegum is all there is, but I think that there's a whole bunch more to this than meets the ear.
A bit like Ben Folds, who hides his messages behind rinky-dink melodies, Andy Sturmer (songwriter and multi-instrumentalist) seems to be hiding his message here behind the Queen-style vocal fades and the big glam dressing.
Taking place over a night that seems to have no end (a recurring nightmare perhaps), this seems to be a dream of life - or a comment upon the state of America. From televangelists through a useless education system towards failed marriages and political incompetence, everything is up for criticism.
But, in true Spilt Milk style, there's no use crying. The childhood obsession with pop-stars (Joining a Fan Club) and failure (Sebrina, Paste and Plato) is balanced out by the dreaminess of playing in the sun (Russian Hill) and the joys of it being 'Palm Sunday over and over' (He's My Best Friend). I laughed for an hour the first time I heard that last song, by the way.
Are the references that serious? Is 'the actor of sorts who sold himself too short and travels door to door performing "Death of a Salesman"' really Ronald Reagan? Is this a tirade against American society, politics and the music industry?
Or am I just analysing this too much? I don't know. The one thing I do know is that it is a crying shame that Jellyfish only produced two albums and a handful of extra tracks that were gathered together on the 'Best' CD.
i hail this band as one of all my time favourites - there is something about these two albums they have created that will just never leave me. I 1st heard of them when I was eleven and loved them back then - this has not left all these years later.
The acoustic beatles esque pop/rock of the 1st album has been moved aside on Spilt Milk in favour of a more elaborate and daring set of arrangements. The production is massive and the music is highly layered - it would be a test to name every single instrument used on this album - an indication of how rich the sound is.
the lyrics have moved also from the troubled strains of a modern day male perspective to a more metaphorical, magical world full of songs about 'bathtubs full of 8x10's' lunchtime with Sebrina Paste and Plato, and 'father mason cluthcing his crucifix - baptised the baby with whiskey and liquorice - what a lovely way, drowing sins and tooth decay'.
beneath all their seemingly trinket orientated pop and childlike lyrics - there is something increadibly intelligent and poignant about these tales of love and tragedy.
Overall i think the 1 st album plays better through as an album and has some classic pop songs, with great mature lyrics - whereas this album pushes the limits a little - with some fantastic arrangements - 'bye bye bye'is a cross between a brass band sound and the charlestone from the 1920's - but it works amazingly.
Whereas the 1st album was more beatles esque - with its tales of every day man and simple pop - this is the queen esque album, pompous, operatic yet nostalgic but it still rocks.
a lot of fans moan that they never made more albums - i for one am happy that these two albums at least exist.
If you've read the other reviews here you'll already know how great this album is, if you've already heard the album you'll wonder too how this band were not the biggest band in the world and if you already have the album, buy it again as you should always have a spare in case of disaster! A work of genius in the form of a concept album set over the course of the dreams of a nights sleep, from the opening lullaby of 'Hush' that gently lulls you down into the dreamstate, to the alarm bells rudely awakening you as the last sound on the album at the end of Brighter Day, this record is a classic! Every song a gem and a treasure in it's own right. There are few albums in life that are so perfect that you never tire of hearing them on a regular basis, regardless of what other musical styles come or go, but Spilt Milk is definitely an undiscovered masterpiece that falls into that catagory.
Yeah, I'm talking to you!!! Don't put up with half-baked pop ANYMORE!!! And that's an ORDER soldier!!! This is the album you want, the album that you NEED, that elusive PERFECT album you've been looking for since you had your musical tastebuds whetted by The Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds', or that album by some guys from up north, yeah, I think it was called 'Revolver'. Tracks like 'Sebrina, Paste and Plato', 'Joining a Fanclub' and 'New Mistake' are the stuff that PROPER, INTELLIGENT (and not in a horrible pseudy way either) POP (with a gigantic capital P) is made of!!! On the other hand, swirling masses of heavenly harmonic chorus like opener (whisper it quietly) 'Hush' and delicate acoustic swooners such as 'Russian Hill' (THE most affecting song I've ever heard, "I don't know where, but it sends me there") are enough to melt the hardest heart at a thousand paces. And that's without mentioning the rest of the album, every track of which I LOVE!!! WHAT!!! Are ya still here reading this?!? WHAT!!! HAVEN'T YOU BEEN LISTENING?!? O.R.D.E.R. T.H.I.S. A.L.B.U.M. N.O.W.!!!!
My NUMBER ONE album of all time (yes, even above The Beatles!). Absolutely perfect and not a duff track on it. I never EVER tire of listening to this album and it breaks my heart that Jellyfish were criminally ignored by most of the record-buying public. Shame on you! If you're a fan of intelligent well-crafted songs with delicious, poppy hooks, superb musicianship and intriguing sing-a-long lyrics, please buy this album! Imagine popping The Beatles, Queen, ELO and Cheap Trick into a blender: a quick whisk and...hey presto! Jellyfish! Every listen reveals something new to me and the production is second to none. There's not a lot you can buy these days for £6.99 and I promise you, it's worth every penny. You won't be disappointed! (Now, whatever DID happen to lead singer Andy Sturmer?! Andy, if you're reading this, get in touch!)
Jellyfish were undoubtedly one of the best bands in recent years and Andy Sturmer and Roger Manning were amazing songwriters . Everything about this album is just perfect from the songs and musicianship to the faultless arrangements,engineering and production. Everytime I listen to this record I am amazed how strong the songs are. Anyone who loves fantastic music should own this record (as well as the equally outstanding Bellybutton). Jellyfish have been compared to powerpop bands such as Badfinger,The Raspberries,Cheap trick etc. but as anyone knows having listened to any of their records they are far superior to many of those bands as good as they were. 5 stars is not enough for this band.
Not much to add to the other reviews on here except to say don't be put off by the mention of Queen influences - it's not *that* bombastic an album, though it is very definitely heavily produced. If anything, I hear more 10cc than Queen.
Luckily the songs can take the strain of the rich harmonies, fake fade-outs, abrupt time changes and what not.
As the title of my review suggests, if Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys had ever joined the Beatles in the late sixties, this is how the album might have sounded.