Album Review: Jellyfish Brigade, Diving Lessons
Aldous Huxley once said, “Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.” I know this statement very well – mainly because it was my senior quote back in 2005. After listening to Jellyfish Brigade‘s new album Diving Lessons in great detail, it’s apparent that Lucas Dix also knows this statement; in fact, based on his lyrical content, it seems as though he’s beginning to master the philosophy. Lucas has been through more in the last two years than most people have in two decades; he lost his best friend and long-time music partner Gavin “Theory” Soens to a battle with terminal cancer, and the love of his life relocated to the opposite side of the country to be closer to her family. Saturated with real-life stories and relatable metaphors, Diving Lessons is one of the most profound and honest records of 2014.
Even though Lucas Dix’s dictations are the focal point of Diving Lessons, it is imperative that a great deal of credit is given to the Great Mundane; without his melodic measures, this album would not be anywhere near as notable. His bold and brazen beats aren’t what you’d normally expect to hear on a Hip-Hop record, but his sounds skew multiple moods and give Dix the ink needed to dauntlessly draft his moving manifesto.
If you’ve ever talked to Lucas Dix, you know that he’s dead serious about what he does, but he’s also one hell of a laid back dude that truly loves Hip-Hop; the track “Man the Riverboat” paints this picture perfectly. Throughout the course of the track, Dix has fun declaring that he’s just another traveler trying to find himself on life’s journey, and he’s going to go wherever the river takes him:
“I’m about as spiritual as the next man/finger painting a Rembrandt/practicing my head stands/shortened laps on the cycle of Siddhartha/doin’ to others brother/shit is vital for the karma/I ain’t gonna front, I’d love to be rich and famous/just so I could leave it and fold into the nameless/knowledge of the mental, pledges of the physical/wielding wooden oars rowin’ in my rusty riverboat”
I can say first hand that I really do miss being a kid; every day was a new adventure, and there was never a dull moment. Whether it was going out and playing baseball, or hanging out at the pool, there was always something to wake up excited about every day; as an adult, it’s a lot harder to find things to be excited about. Dix knows exactly what this feels like, and on “Astronauts and Pirates to the Rescue” he directly discloses the thoughts that a lot of us in the Generation Y cohort regularly consider:
“I need something that I can want/something that I can follow/something worth getting out of bed tomorrow/even if I never touch it/as long as it exists/it’ll be the reason why I can handle this shit”
It’s not just fun and games on Diving Lessons – at all. The two most sentimental and candid tracks on the album – “In the Green Grass” and “Willow Seed Serenade” – show Dix handling heavy hitting situations just as well as the light ones; in doing this, he adds a great deal of complexity to his character.
On “In the Green Grass”, Dix comes to terms with the tragic loses in his life, but he declares that he’s grateful for the experiences that he has had, and he wouldn’t change it for anything. Lucas also gives a great piece of advice that everyone can learn from: don’t waste your life chasing the other side of the fence because the grass isn’t always greener; be happy with what you have.
“Willow Seed Serenade” is one of the most beautiful tracks I’ve heard in a long time. The Great Mundane’s pleasant piano keys and staccato drums provide the perfect soundscape for Dix to reminisce about falling in love. Lucas distinctly describes the day he fell in love; coincidentally, it’s the same day that he learned to dive. Even though the story is quite literal, the message about diving is a great metaphor that can be applied to real-life situations that everyone faces.
Dix has a line on the album that states he takes solace in the heavy moss surroundings and the city lights; it truly does say a lot about his character, and Diving Lessons shows the world all of his idiosyncrasies. At the young age of 29, Lucas Dix has a long way to go in living his life, but this album shows that he’s beginning to learn the most important lessons that life can give.
For those of you that don’t know, Dix is a teacher by profession, so it’s no surprise that throughout Diving Lessons he’s giving the world a pronounced piece of advice that we can all learn from: when it comes to life, sometimes we all need to take diving lessons and learn to jump into the unknown.