ParaNoize CD Review By Guy Chapman

Date: 12-05-2007

Music has changed a lot in the last few years. It's no longer about heartfelt lyrics or creative and original riffs that keep one's head nodding in appreciation. Most music today is pre-packaged marketing, with cookie cutter magazine ready pretty faces and tracks meant to be sampled repeatedly in clubs. Whether the songs are actually danceable music selections is optional. As long as the bass allows for a lot of bumping and grinding on the floor, that's all that's apparently needed.

So has real music completely gone the way of the endangered species list? You can still find quality bands out there, and experiencing Los Angeles based Dig Jelly is one of those creative oases in the previously mentioned aural desert.

Dig Jelly has been around for a few years now, first starting as the pop-rock band "Rayko" (named after the lead singer Rayko), then evolving into the punk rock Dig Jelly. The sound has evolved from a more pop friendly sound to something that you can genuinely bang your head to. The album "Paranoize" is the group's sophomore effort, and offers further refinement into the group's evolution.

To listen to the album and see the group play in a venue are two completely different creatures. Live, the energy is raw and infectious, with Rayko taking the center stage. The lead singer is not an easy entity to define. When this beautiful, diminutive Japanese girl takes the stage, she can simultaneously sing like an angel and scream like the devil. Her vocal range is undeniably impressive, and is hauntingly melodic during some of the slower songs. Rayko also writes the majority of the band's music and plays guitar, showing off that she is much more than just a pretty face.

However, no one singer/songwriter can embody an entire band alone, and in Dig Jelly's case, the rest of the group maintains the sound like a well-run ship. Whether it's the strong lead guitar of Robby Lochner, the frantic pace of Rain Balen's bass playing, or the driving drum beats of Joey Felix, the group plays as one, complementing each other's performance with a unified sound that is given strength by each of its members.

The "Paranoize" album brings that live venue sound to its album, but now sounds more refined, less raw. Part of experiencing Dig Jelly is feeding off the energy the members exhibit onstage, and while the majority of the songs have been played throughout the groups' last year of shows, but the music's strength is not diminished for the album, and still maintains a fresh feel. The songs are undeniably catchy, and the lyrics are insightful and deep, if one is clever enough to understand the further personal meanings.

As with "For Your Inner Angry Child (the group's first outing), the music is filled with catchy riffs and music that definitely keeps one's body moving during listening. Some of the stand-out songs include the hard hitting "S.L.A.M.", the catchy riffs of "Time Is Up", and a solid showcase of Rayko's vocal range in "Silver". As mentioned before, fans of Dig Jelly will be familiar with the material from the shows, but the album versions have a sense of an "alternate take" to the sound. There are some little differences, but it actually works in this outing.

With only 10 songs, the second outing has a few less tracks than the first album, but the quality of the music more than makes up for it. It's a comforting sign that there are still bands out there that are actually interested in "creating" music, as opposed to simply "manufacturing" it. If there was any common sense left in the music world, we'd be hearing more music like this play on the radio waves instead of the thinly veiled commercials that are shamefully passed off as "music" these days.

"Paranoize" is a solid second effort by Dig Jelly, and the only way one could not get into the hard-hitting sound is if they were paralyzed or dead inside.

Highly Recommended.

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