Jet - Shine On

2006-11-23 15:51
Their cover image and booklet snaps will remind South Africans of Fokofpolisiekar: unkempt hair, and sunglasses, fuelling creepy racist barroom jibes about the similarity between Sarfies and suburban Aussies. Either fashion sensibility may or not be as contrived as MTV2, but it nonetheless works as an image that appeals enough to give them both the number one spot on radio.

The odd thing, though, is that contrivance is good when Jet are literally channelling Paul McCartney on “Bring it on Back”. Or when they nearly do on “Stand Up”, a song that recalls Wings’ finer big band arrangements (and a handy impression of Macca rattling off “Helter Skelter” some years earlier).

And holy cow, have you heard those great, overdriven, overblown guitar riffs, Batman? “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” makes a kickin’ rock song. And when Jet do let rip, as on the perceptibly titled “Rip it Up”, they kick arse. So why Jet hasn’t invaded that territory more often on their second offering is a bit of a disappointment.

Instead they seem to have gotten stuck on an Oasis binge, a heady mix of thick, slow melodies and gigantic choruses – again, only slightly more contrived. As one editor put it, they’ve “produced another album of songs you’ve heard before”. And as good as some those songs may be, there’s a smirk of disdain behind every familiar lilt or melody – it’s an easily constructed emulation as opposed to a genuinely affecting piece of personal creativity.

Given different treatments, several of these songs would be exceptional efforts. As they are they’re only just decent. “Shine On”, for example, has the hook, but also has the vocal delivery of Noel Gallagher, and that's infuriating. Especially so when you consider that Oasis’ sound is itself an expansion of late Beatles efforts, and you begin to realise that Shine On is dangerously close to being a copy of a copy of a copy of a blueprint that still actually exists. Not bad, but it lacks the same depth of colour.

- Anton Marshall

PS: "Jet" is also the name of one of Wings' most famous singles, off their classic Band on The Run album (1973). -AM
If Jet had been from the UK, would The Cesters and the Gallaghers be friends? Heaven knows they already make the same records.

What to read next: Kalahari

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