Nothing is ever straight forward with Mystery Jets. Whilst their fourth album Radlands was considered a return to form, it was marred by the departure of bassist Kai Fish. Returning after three years away with new bassist, Jack Flanagan, you’d think their self-produced fifth album Curve of the Earth has the potential to brighten up this wet and windy January.
The lead single, Telomere, is filled with intrigue as its repetitive guitar riff and absorbing lyrics built to create a powerful song, nothing like the band had previously produced. This new exploration of genres continues into Bombay Blue mixing the upbeat melodies of old with a slightly ostentatious Pink Floyd inspired guitar solo.
Bubble gum is a beautifully upbeat track, occasionally sounding like Springsteen before a catchy synth hook takes centre stage and a big chorus whips up a frenzy. Things are looking very, very good in the first trio of songs on the LP.
Unfortunately, the next three tracks are far less inspiring and in so reveal the biggest disappointment of the album: the slow tempo, something that is so rarely seen in any of their previous work. This is evident in Midnight Mirror which lacks a big chorus and therefore the track just fades away without having ever really gone anywhere. The lyrics in 1985, about planets and the cosmos are so pompous and pretentious it’s hard to imagine even Roger Waters thinking of them, while the band continue to sound like a local Pink Floyd tribute act in the slow-paced Blood Red Balloon.
From the off, Taken By The Tide sees a return to form with a beautifully crafted intro and retrospective self-inspecting lyrics. This is a real feel good song that perfectly combines the new direction with the work of old, a real high point of the record.
After four hit-filled albums you can’t argue with a band wanting to experiment and take their sound in a new direction. Unfortunately, despite an admirable attempt, they do not quite pull it off with the flashy guitar solos and lyrics often sounding uncomfortable and ever so slightly out of place.