Fans of good hooks, lines and sinkers couldn't land better seafood than Jellyfish. Surely the generation that belatedly took "Bohemian Rhapsody" to No. 1 can find some similar use for this quartet, which plays an unapologetic retro-pop so splendid it makes you want to take back every bad thing you said about the '70s and start raving about the decade as a musical high-water mark.
Fightin' words? Perhaps you had to be there, as the foursome commandeered the Palace Friday and proved just about the tightest band in the land. If the underlying ethic is somehow "alternative," Jellyfish is certainly traditionalist in hearkening back to a time when a lot of the musicians with the most outre, arch or ironic sensibilities could also claim major chops as players.
Andy Sturmer stands--literally--as one of the very few drummer-singers in history to have a dynamic presence behind the kit. He, longtime partner Roger Manning and two newer recruits demonstrated a virtuosic command of complex arrangements even while realizing remarkable harmonies.
The layered vocals inevitably recalled Queen, but also Brian Wilson's best. And though the band borrowed against its Badfinger debt with "Day After Day," this time it also acknowledged owing as much to the Move with a stunning version of the 1967 "I Can Hear the Grass Grow."