Mystery Jets / Radlands
It might be less 'pop' than we're used to, but the new Mystery Jets album confirms the band as musical superheroes - writes Danny Canning
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How do you follow one of the greatest summer albums of all time? For Mystery Jets, the answer seems to have been ‘head for the desert’ – for they’ve recorded Radlands in the outback of Texas. The result is less tropical and more introspective than ‘Serotonin’, but it’s similarly brimming with heart and warmth.
The title track is appropriately representative: the chorus explodes with emotion like a hug after a harrowing incident, a sensation that gets twisted into boundless optimism like the flick of a switch on the record’s centre piece, ‘Someone Purer’. This is journey music that doesn’t need to ape the Arcade Fire to find its feet, blending honest self-doubt with roof-blowing choruses.
Yet the album has one stumbling block, represented by ‘You Had Me At Hello’: again it’s a great tune, but it takes too long to reach its awesome, campfire clap-a-long chorus . This recurs elsewhere with the band seemingly finding it hard to just cut to the chase.
Still, you can’t help but love the bastards. ‘Hale Bop’ is a Bee Gees disco strut if ever there was one, while ‘Greatest Hits’ sheds positive pop hooks on a breakup tale and the regretful, lump-in-throat acoustic finale ‘Luminescense’ are but some of many highlights.
Any album by the MJs is bound to be a cracker, and so it transpires: though some tracks could have been more ruthlessly edited, this is another fine transmission from one of our greatest bands.