The Jelly Jam – Profit

The first time I heard The Jelly Jam I didn’t like it. I listened to it with a friend of mine who bought the first album of the super group: front man/guitarist Ty Tabor of King’s X, bassist John Myung of Dream Theater, and Dixie Dregs/Winger drummer Rod Morgenstein. I didn’t get it. I didn’t have the grandiose of DT, the pop metal grooves of Winger, or even the jazz flex of Dregs. It sounded like a thin version of Tabor’s King’s X songs. I didn’t get it, and I let it go. The Jelly Jam made two more albums after that, 2 and Shall We Descend, but I passed on them as well, expecting more of the same. Recently I heard the first single to the group’s latest album, Profit. There was something about it that struck me differently this time. Maybe it was me, maybe it was them, either way, I was interested in hearing more. Profit was released May 27, 2016 via Mascot Records.

It is obvious that the content of Profit has something to do with money being the root of all evil. The cover depicts a hooded figure, holding a scale with money on one side, and the Earth on the other. The title Prophet is crossed out, replaced with Profit. What is not readily apparent is that the album is a loose concept album, based around the main character’s journey to save the world. Ty’s voice is still present, of course, on the opening track (the one that caught me) ‘Care,’ but this time I don’t get the thin feeling I had before. Tabor’s guitar has a lot to do with that. Layered and dense, the main riff projects a progressive grunginess that ends up permeating the album. The groove on Profit is as on point as the respective member’s talents. ‘Stain on the Sun,’ ‘Mr. Man,’ and ‘Memphis’ are great examples of this. There aren’t many jammers on this record, most of the tracks are mid to slower tempo tunes. ‘Stop’ is one of the few that bring the tempo up a little, but everything is still under control. As strong as the album starts, it finishes even stronger. You get lost in the melodies and Ty’s guitar solos on ‘Ghost Town,’ ‘Heaven’ (plus the Myung bass heavy ‘Permanent Hold’), ‘Fallen,’ and deeeeeep closer ‘Strong Belief.’

Side projects and super groups can be a tricky thing. When members of well-established bands collaborate with other musicians outside of their circle, the results can come with mixed reviews. I think this comes from the high expectations that fans can have about these collaborations. It also could be that the content is so far off from what we usually expect from the artist, that we cannot grasp what they are trying to accomplish. This might have been my problem the first time I heard The Jelly Jam. Whatever it was, I don’t have that problem now. Profit is a mellow prog rock masterpiece that I’m glad I get.

Track list:

  1. Care
  2. Stain On The Sun
  3. Water
  4. Stop
  5. Perfect Lines (Flyin’)
  6. Mr. Man
  7. Memphis
  8. Ghost Town
  9. Heaven
  10. Permanent Hold
  11. Fallen
  12. Strong Belief

Playing Time: 46:06

Release date: May 27, 2016

Label: Mascot Records


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