Mystery Jets: Curve of the Earth review – fewer quirks but flashes of brilliance

(Rough Trade)

Mystery Jets’ last album, 2012’s Radlands, signalled a move towards 1980s-style AOR soft rock, and now Curve of the Earth, their sixth, edges further into mainstream Americana. Instead of the endearing idiosyncrasies that characterised their earliest records 10 years ago, we have the crunching chords of Taken By the Tide’s mega-chorus and the plaintive vocals and morse-code guitar of Telomere. But there are flashes of brilliance. The production is richly textured, adorning Midnight’s Mirror (which opens with sampled dialogue from Mike Leigh’s Naked) with Kraftwerk-ish flourishes and swelling harmonies, while Saturnine sounds as if John Lennon had joined the Beach Boys. Blood Red Balloon refers to “Primrose Hill NW1” in Syd Barrett-like tones, but elsewhere there’s scant evidence of their London roots – the lyrics of Bubblegum even refer to “sidewalks”. That’s before Blaine Harrison sings “Deep down I know I should leave the past behind,” one of several wistful reflections here on the passing of time.


Jon Dennis

The GuardianTramp

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