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Herman Martinez - Immortal Jellyfish (Our Lady of Space)

1 April 2024

It might be easier to talk about the things that aren’t going on musically in Herman Martinez’s Immortal Jellyfish, but I guess that wouldn’t make for a very useful review. So I’ll try to describe it. Although, like all the most interesting music, putting it into mere words is a tough call, so bear with me.

It might be easy to call this progressive rock; after all, it has a very substantial rock base and is certainly very forward-thinking, but the term is a fairly loaded one, full of past baggage and present expectations, so to leave it at that would just be lazy journalism. Between the ornate rockscapes and the lilting lows, the sonic understatement and the searing crescendoes, there is always a lot more going on than meets the ear.

The excellently named “Pink Floyd and Dinosaurs” is built on blends of acoustic elegance and brooding pathos, white-hot blasts of guitar and unexpected, tangental sonic asides. “Defacto Protagonist” runs on post-rock energies and chiming piano lines, “One Hit Wonder” is found in a place where folk eloquence meets classical delicacy and “Love Noise” takes us by the hand and leads us to a strange sonic pasture for a spot of jazzy, avant-gardening.

And then you get songs like “Cassettes,” a scintillating bundle of finger-picked cascades that seems to gently spin and spiral to create lush soundscapes, which actually do seem to echo some of the high points of the early prog-rock sound, in this case, Gabriel-era Genesis.

Immortal Jellyfish is one of those moments when you know that words are not enough to capture the clever blend of grace and grandeur, innovation and intrigue, muscle and melody woven here. Certainly not with the amount that you can fit into a music review. So, the best thing to do, the only thing to do, is to play the record and draw your conclusions.

That might seem like a cop-out. The job of the reviewer is, after all, to explain to the reader exactly why, or indeed why not, they need the item in question in their life. Well, sometimes the actual experience is the only option, and no amount of well-chosen words and lyrical waxing can do it justice. This is certainly one of those times.