Deluxe reissues of Jellyfish gems ‘Bellybutton’ and ‘Spilt Milk’ are worth the upgrade

Jellyfish‘Bellybutton’ & ‘Spilt Milk’
Jellyfish (Omnivore)
4 stars out of 5; 4 stars out of 5

San Francisco-based indie pop outfit Jellyfish were very much a product of the early 1990s. With a, shall we say, eclectic fashion sense that rivaled some of Mayim Bialik’s ensembles on “Blossom,” Jellyfish lasted just four years and recorded but two albums before flaming out.

Fortunately, those albums — 1990’s “Bellybutton” and 1993’s “Spilt Milk” — still resonate and remain an example of psych-tinged power pop at its very finest. The folks at Omnivore are celebrating Jellyfish’s legacy with deluxe two-disc reissues of both slabs that are most definitely worth the upgrade.

“It’s so great to have both albums remastered and available again,” keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr. explains. “We know that the fans have been looking for the tracks that only appeared on a long out-of-print boxed set, so many of those outtakes, demos and live tracks have been added to make these expanded deluxe two-CD sets as comprehensive as possible.”

Jellyfish CD 1Disc 1 of “Bellybutton” opens with the original 10 tracks and is bolstered by 10 more live recordings. Songs like “The Man I Used to Be,” “Baby’s Coming Back,” “The King Is Half-Undressed” and “All I Want Is Everything” hold up remarkably well and Jellyfish also score with liver version’s of Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Jet” and The Archies’ “Sugar and Spice.” Disc 2 features 16 demos, including a terrific reading of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.”

Jellyfish CD 2The “Spilt Milk” reissue is even better, with the 12 original tunes joined on Disc 1 by eight demos. Highlights here include “Joining a Fan Club,” my all-time favorite Jellyfish tune, “New Mistake,” “The Ghost at Number One” and “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.” Disc 2 features 17 demos, live tracks and the final studio recording made by Jellyfish, a good-but-not-great cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Think About Your Troubles.” (Jeffrey Sisk)

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