Mystery Jets - Radlands
"I've heard there's a place where we go to die" - as opening lines go, it's not the sparkliest but it perfectly sets the mood for Mystery Jets' fourth effort Radlands. Darker than anything they've done before, it's a welcome change of pace from the disappointingly conventional Serotonin and captures the charm of their exciting debut Making Dens; it's just that that charm is borne of their hit-and-miss nature where the bright spots shine extraordinarily and the troughs meander on in search of a hook.
This is something that Mystery Jets fans will be perfectly used to, well-versed in waiting for that moment where everything clicks in an often glorious way; others less in-tune with the four-piece may be less patient however and there are times when Radlands will seriously test their endurance, such as with the listless 'The Nothing' and 'Sister Everett' which can't even be saved by a baffling choral outro. Persevere though and you're treated with the fabulous mid-album double bill of 'Greatest Hits' and 'The Hale Bop' which shows the Jets haven't lost their pop edge stunningly realised on Twenty One, but the best is still to come in the form of the epic 'Lost In Austin' where Blaine Harrison's rough-hewed vocals take on a powerfully emotive tone in the chorus - "Take me to the edge / I'm not scared". As one of the best things they've ever done, it should have been the mesmerising finale that the adventurous Radlands deserved; instead we get the dull acoustic 'Luminescense', providing a perfect microcosm of what awaits when you delve into the Mystery Jets world: frustratingly sketchy brilliance.