Review: Mystery Jets – Twenty One

Amongst the new wave of young indie bands in 2006, ‘Making Dens’ by Mystery Jets stood out as a genre-defying album of ramshackle tunes, not to mention the inclusion of a father and son partnership in their line-up. The follow-up sees senior member Henry Harrison reduce his involvement to leave son Blaine and his gang to take charge. Perhaps not surprisingly, the result is a record which sometimes comes across as a little too perky and youthful for its own good.

After a breathless start where the band members seem over-reliant on wordless harmonies (content to “woo woo” and “la la” when they could go for a sense of understatement), ‘Half In Love With Elizabeth’ reveals itself to be an exuberant song with a winning melody to match. ‘Veiled In Grey’ makes the best use of a nagging guitar riff whilst ‘Two Doors Down’ is an infectious singalong that recalls 1980’s acts such as ABC and the rather more obscure JoBoxers. 1980’s references crop up quite a lot in fact; white funk, sax solos and tinny synths all employed without irony. Nevertheless they nail a great song towards the end; a new sense of urgency apparent on the rousing ‘First To Know’, where all group members combine their obvious passion with intense and tight-knit instrumentation.

Due to its kitchen-sink production and the relentless eagerness to please, ‘Twenty One’ sounds more like a debut than ‘Making Dens’. It’s just disappointing Mystery Jets have toned down the eccentricities to sound more like an act who will doubtless win favour with students. It’s good enough for now but may sound irritating after a few years of hindsight.

Web Sites:
Mystery Jets Official Site
Mystery Jets MySpace

Further Listening:


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