The Mystery Jets have adopted an increasingly subtle style since their raucous debut, treading ground a bit too smart to sit comfortably amongst the 80s pastiche-ists they were once lumped in with. Radlands moves beyond the underwhelming synth-pop of their last album, blending their eccentricity with dusty desert madness. The topics are the same (relationships, outsiders, having a bloody good time), but the palette they draw from is different, namely a swirling mix of psych-country, desert blues, romping Hammond organ and glam stomp.
The opening title-track is a Trojan horse of gloom, the delivery of lines like “we’ll be together until hell freezes over” poised between heartfelt defiance and sinister threat. But they’ve still got an ear for singles (Greatest Hits, Someone Purer), a lightness of touch (The Ballad of Emmerson Lonestar) and most importantly, an idiosyncratic fun energy unmatched in British pop. Having upped sticks to Texas, alongside the slide guitar Mystery Jets have found a new voice. Confident, retro in a timeless, less ephemeral way – Radlands just given Crack a reason to love them again.
This post first appeared ion Crack Magazine 30 April 2012