FOURTH ALBUM RADLANDS OUT TODAY
Story by Kate Davies
Shortly before the release of their fourth album, Radlands, English four-piece Mystery Jets announced that bassist Kai Fish would be leaving the band. Not only was this heavy news dropped right before a CD release, but also just before the group’s scheduled UK-wide tour. Nevertheless, the band commendably rallied the troops, proclaimed that the show must go on, and hired Pete Cochrane as their new bassist.
From the opening of Radlands‘ self-titled first track, this same note of professionalism and maturity can be heard in the melancholic Radiohead-esque guitar riff that permeates through this single-worthy tune. Teetering between angst-ridden verses and a power-pop chorus, MJ’s first track leaves the listener’s hopes high for a new addition to the must-hear CD’s of the summer. They continue in this vein with second song “You Had Me At Hello”, a lingering, country-inspired ditty with a powerful chorus. “Someone Purer” is reminiscent of Australian rock band Powderfinger at their best, delivering an Interpol-like darkness that is nevertheless warm enough to encourage pop fans to pay attention. Perhaps the best track on the album, “The Battle of Emmerson Lonestar” is the most obviously country-influenced, featuring a satisfying chorus full of rich harmonies. Not surprisingly considering the countrified tone of Radlands, the album was recorded in a house by the Colorado River in the Westlake area of Austin, Texas.
Although the first four tracks leave the listener begging for more, there is an marked decline in quality from the fifth song onwards. On the whole, the album contains an obtuse amount of references to hell, “the other side”, death, and a man’s undoing. However, these prolific themes are shot to hell (no pun intended!) with weak lyrics such as “the future gets shorter the longer we wait” and “is there another me looking back across the sea?” [“Lost in Austin”]. The phrase “fallen angel” is repeated in various tracks. Perhaps this is an attempt to connect the album as a whole, but this repetition comes off as unimaginative. Mystery Jets clearly harbours a degree of both talent and potential, but fails to deliver the goods beyond an LP-sized four-track. The remainder of the album isn’t necessarily poorly crafted, but it lacks that originality that is so crucial for a band who is already into their fourth album.
The Mystery Jets are playing June 19th @ the Sound Academy in Toronto with headlining band Keane.