The Jelas – Beetroot Yourself EP

Beetroot YourselfYou certainly can't accuse The Jelas of playing it safe. Their off-kilter, un-pigeonhole-able music has been doing the rounds of the Bristol music scene since 2007, and in that time they've managed to build up a band of loyal followers. The latest offering from the trio is the curiously-titled Beetroot Yourself EP, released on the DIY record label Time of Asking.

It's an eccentric EP that, despite clocking in at just under 20 minutes long, is packed full of surprises.  The Jelas' uncompromising, confrontational sound makes it a challenging listen at times, as songs flit from one idea and one genre to the next. The sharp turns throughout can make it an unsteady ride, but stick with it and the EP certainly has some redeeming moments.

Opening track “Tough Barista” starts off serenely enough before shout-y vocals from male and female counterparts start to kick in. At times it feels like four or five songs plastered together in a fairly haphazard way, with the band's propensity for sharp sound shifts within each song apparent right from the off. The skittery drums just add to the general sense of chaos. With such little regard for song structures, in-tune vocals and most other components of a pop song, at times it feels as though The Jelas are being purposely obtrusive on Beetroot Yourself. Yet, there's an innocent charm to their disregard for the listener. As Beetroot Yourself moves along, you find yourself being drawn into the whacky world of The Jelas.

“Library to Library”, possibly the standout track, is an infectious grower despite its main hook being the band yelling “LIBRARY!” at each other. Bizarre, I know, but at times it's hard not to enjoy the total isolation of The Jelas from almost anything else out there. There's disregard for the listener, there's disregard for musical trends and there's disregard for accepted song structures. It's the sound of a band making music for themselves and themselves alone. If you like it, great! But there's not going to be any pandering to here. “Graphs” follows, and it's probably the second strongest tune, taking on a progressive feel with an extended outro regrettably not leading back into the main manic refrain of the track.

It's frustrating, because there are moments on Beetroot Yourself where you feel that The Jelas are sort of onto something. Each moment like that is seemingly followed by yet another curveball to throw the listener off-course again. Perhaps The Jelas just wouldn't be The Jelas without these little quirks. They've carved a sound that's unashamedly, undoubtedly their own, which is a commendable trait when set to an inoffensive musical landscape of box-ticking, criteria-filling and radio DJ-pleasing. Strap yourself in and give the world of The Jelas a try for yourself. Things definitely won't be dull.

You can stream the EP in full exclusively through DrunkenWerewolf here

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