Time Capsule: Bellybutton
Running a mere seconds under the 40-minute mark, Bellybutton, the debut album from San Francisco’s Jellyfish, is a brilliantly crafted record also known for introducing power pop fans to the likes of Jason Falkner and Roger Manning Jr., as well as their frequent collaborator (and these days, noted producer and film composer) Mr. Jon Brion.
Founded by lead-singing, stand-up drummer Andy Sturmer, and keyboardist Manning—both talented songwriters and multi-instrumentalists—the band flirted with mainstream success but disbanded soon after touring behind their sophomore album Spilt Milk [Charisma-1993]. But on their debut, the beloved '90s cult band showed off their ample melodic and instrumental gifts; their high-level songcraft to be discussed and pored over by power pop geeks for years to come.
The folks at the Trouser Press Record Guide are not easily impressed, but that didn't stop them from calling Bellybutton “a pleasant—occasionally wonderful—pastiche of pop icons from the Beatles to Squeeze via 10cc, the Beach Boys and Badfinger.”
Sounds about right.
Highlights: “That Is Why”, arguably their finest moment; “The King is Half Undressed”, “She Still Loves Him”, “All I Want Is Everything”, “Baby’s Coming Back”, “Calling Sarah”.