Mystery Jets | Concert Review
Originally named Misery Jets, Mystery Jets was named when lead singer Blaine Harrison accidentally misspelled the name while painting it on a drum skin. Better mystery than misery, I say, ‘cause the latter is far from what their music makes me feel. The English indie-rock band does have an air of mystery to them, especially since they are relatively unknown here in Singapore. Their sound is rock with bits of pop and a unique western twang to it, and very, very infectious.
When I stepped into the Hard Rock Café for their gig, they were playing Sister Everett to a small but captivated crowd, and at that moment I was convinced it was going to be an amazing set. The band had amazing rapport, interacting with each other as much as they did with the crowd. Harrison was sitting on a stool throughout the set because of his impairment (spina bfida, which has affected his leg muscles since he was a child), but that was not an issue at all. He has mentioned that the band was “not interested in gimmicks”, and his earnest crooning and the band’s passionate sound was testament to their pared down prowess. What I especially liked was the clarity in which each word was sung – poetical lyrics are always a bonus for me and lines like “You still swim around the canals in my head like cocaine” (Luminescence) mesmerised me entirely. The band played the stunning track, Flakes, after guitarist and vocalist William Rees asked the room if anyone was in love. And we all were, in the end, when everyone sang along to the haunting refrain “Oh, the wind blows you away / Oh, the wind blows you away…”
It wasn’t all sappy love songs, as the band shifted the mood up and down dexterously. Upbeat songs like Young Love (originally featuring Laura Marling) and Two Doors Down made the crowd shimmy around involuntarily. Lost in Austin was another stellar rock and roll piece, which they described as a love letter to Austin, Texas, where they had spent some time in. The band showed none of the typical rock star demeanour – in fact, Harrison and Rees both requested for the spotlight to be put off their faces and said it was much better with the lights dimmed – but their fervour and sincerity was more than enough to have the crowd yelling encore. Suffice it to say, I left the gig with a song in my head and a new love for this underrated band.
Mystery Jet’s newest album, Radlands, was released on 30 April 2012. Go get it!
– Kelly Koo
*Pictures courtesy of Chugg Entertainment
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