Mystery Jets | Pop review

Somerset House, London

Four years after their first album, Mystery Jets must be resigned to the knowledge that, unless the music world tilts on its axis, their quirky pop is unlikely ever to have mass appeal. Though the new record, Serotonin, has dispensed with choppy psychedelia in favour of harmony-splashed catchiness, it looks set to make only a middling chart debut. But are they bothered? Evidently not: "I'm having such a good time," said singer Blaine Harrison as they wound up this first night of Somerset House's annual Summer Series. "I think it was all that serotonin I did before the show."

The audience rustled appreciatively, but perhaps he really had knocked back a dose of the so-called happy hormone – he and his three bandmates were unfailing buoyant throughout the set. Swivelling between keyboard and guitar, Harrison frequently asked whether we were having a good time – we were – and urged: "Don't forget to have fun."

Old staples such as Two Doors Down and Flakes got the crowd wriggling, but the six new songs played were the surprise hits. They were big, vibrant and – not something that can be said of Mystery Jets' older material – enormously tuneful. If the wonky acid-pop of their first two albums was influenced by Syd Barrett, Serotonin is indebted to the more accessible Hollies. The Girl Is Gone and Melt, especially, were steeped in a distinctly English brew of sweetness and yearning, and Lady Grey – boosted by sprightly rat-a-tat drumming and Harrison's most lovesick warble – could have been lifted from the catalogue of some 1960s British Invasion act. What a surprise: Mystery Jets have just upped their game.

At Oxegen festival, Dublin, on 11 July (http://2010.oxegen.ie), and Lovebox festival, London on 16 July (www. lovebox.net/).

Contributor

Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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