Jelly Crystal, Esther – Freak Show (Spotify)

“We will infrequently meet musical works, where the story is so beautiful. Each of us can listen in different ways, focusing on the music of -Jelly Crystal & Esther-. Very original Dream Pop and lively, juicy vocal duet performance.”

“Нечасто встретишь музыкальные произведения, в которых так красиво повествуется история. Каждый слушатель по-разному слышит и сопереживает музыке и это отчётливо понимают -Jelly Crystal & Esther-. Очень оригинальный dream pop и живое, сочное исполнение вокального дуэта.”

"Freak Show" is an astounding debut album drawing inspiration from the timeless influential sounds of the 60s and 70s, yet is also injected with bold, experimental moments only 2021 could produce. The swooning title track, "Freak Show" includes lo-fi indie pop singer Esther that really makes the song flourish into a whole new level.

Jelly Crystal is the moniker of the Stockholm-based artist and songwriter Filip Johnson. As Jelly Crystal he is the left-field glam rock street entertainer, singing his heart out for nickels and dimes. Innocence and decadence are never far from each other in his dazzling presence and "Freak Show" is the introductory tale in his extraordinary character's odyssey.

Born and raised in Gothenburg, his skills on the bass guitar got him noticed in Stockholm, where he moved to play in the bands Vacation Forever and HOLY. Along with these collaborative projects, he started releasing tracks as Jelly Crystal, making his debut in 2017 with a self-titled EP, followed by the single “Now Awake” with Scott Walker and David Bowie as influences, Johnson revels in the kind of high-drama, high-art star role those musicians made their names with. Fully loaded, nostalgic and elegant old-school pop. In many ways, what’s significant with Jelly Crystal today.

In 2021, Jelly Crystal released his debut album “Freak Show”, a loosely shaped concept album gravitating around his alter-ego, Jerry. It's both a twisted and alluring vaudeville, and even though he’s got one foot in the timeless melodies of pop history, Jelly Crystal never hesitates to dash head-first into yet uncharted territories. Happy go lucky by nature, Johnson might come off as carefree at first glance, but underlying Johnson’s charismatic crooning, there’s the strokes of sadness of someone who knows he’ll never fully fit in. Innocence and decadence are never far from each other on “Freak Show”, and even though its ceaselessly exhilarating, you’re never left with the feeling that the rollercoaster will ever derail.

Reviewed by Nagamag on November 27, 2021