As far as subgenres of rock music go, progressive rock is certainly its own multi-tentacled beast. Its key characteristics align with virtuosic musicianship and a sort of refined taste which, as with caviar or any stereotype, can lend itself to negative connotations.
But the debut release from Colorado’s Jellyfish Farm could not be further from any preconceived notion of “stuffy” progressive rock. Rather, it’s a delightful and abstract breath of fresh air for not only the state’s local music scene, but modern prog as a whole.
The quartet released their debut EP Jellyfish in September and effectively made a roaring statement in doing so. Just as the name of the band paints a whimsically odd picture, Jellyfish takes the listener through a landscape of sounds you might hear in an underwater world populated by bouncy, bug-eyed sea creatures who, while humorous and friendly, make you slightly uncomfortable. Put otherwise, picture yourself licking a toad, then spending the afternoon at a coffee shop.
The band is comprised of guitarists Doug Hitchens and Alan Loma who, as made evident within the first few seconds of arpeggiated finger tapping on the EP, are nothing short of virtuosos. Hugo Mondragon delivers the winding backbone of the band by way of the drums. His precise double-kicks, tom fills and time signatures which change faster than the tide, make it immediately apparent that the man behind the skins is a master as well.
The EP is jazzy yet spacy; chill yet disjointed, hypnotic yet shreddy. It’s equally as fun to listen to as it is intriguing; as much a fusion masterpiece as it is the potential soundtrack to an anime cartoon or 8-bit video game.
Jellyfish Farm bring their proggy offerings just as sharply live as they do on record, as will be displayed at Chipper’s Lanes in Greeley this month. Rumor has it, they will also be joining one of Colorado’s heaviest, oceanic-named bands for a special New Year’s Eve show . . . in the meantime, dive into the genius that is Jellyfish and stay tuned.