sun 22/04/2018

CD: Mystery Jets - Radlands | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mystery Jets - Radlands

CD: Mystery Jets - Radlands

London indie rockers discover new territories on this fourth album

A long way from the Mystery Jets' Eel Pie Island home to the Lone Star State.

It’s a long way from Eel Pie Island to the Lone Star State, but if the Mystery Jets didn’t want people remarking that fourth album Radlands marked a departure from a certain strain of poppy, guitar-driven indie love song the London band have always done adequately they shouldn’t have chopped a porchside photo of the four of them (following the sudden resignation of bass player Kai Fish earlier this month) into the shape of the latter on the cover.

Artwork aside, singer Blaine Harrison readily dons a pair of dusty snakeskin boots to play the cast of desert-crossed lovers and fighters who make up these eleven tracks, even if it’s at times it gets a little more Kings of Leon than any titular Springsteen puns would have one believe. “I want you to love me as if you had no principles,” Harrison serenades his secret love, and the credits roll in a haze of echo and reverb.

It’s three tracks in before “Someone Purer” takes us into more familiar Jets territory - albeit with a more frantic, driving bass line to counter the chirpy woah-oah-oah-oahs - and five before “Greatest Hits” serves up the sort of good old-fashioned heartbreak and handclaps. While the protagonists divide up their records before saying goodbye (he gets In the Aeroplane Over The Sea, she The Boy With the Arab Strap) I wonder where the song itself belongs - it’s a stand-out track, as much in the sense that it’s so different to what comes before and after as in terms of personal preference.

In interviews Harrison has described the album’s central character as Emmerson Lonestar, a wandering musician crossing the badlands of America. The name itself sounds just a little off, like a stage name fashioned from a pawn shop guitar and some online ‘what’s your cowboy troubadour name’ generator. It’s the sound of a band trying on a different persona to see if it works. When it does, it does excellently; but much like the character who avoids conversion from “Sister Everett” in the second act I’m never completely convinced.

"Deliver me from sin" - listen to "Someone Purer" below.


 

It’s the sound of a band trying on a different persona to see if it works

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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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