Album Review: Mystery Jets – Serotonin

By on Monday, 2nd August 2010 at 12:00 pm

Last week I reviewed a Kid Adrift EP named after a neurotransmitter, a signalling compound in the brain. This week, I catch up with another band – Mystery Jets – and their album named ‘Serotonin’. Unlike the name of Kid Adrift’s 3-track effort, the Jets took a much more appropriate brain chemical for their album. When Serotonin is released in the brain, it sets off chain reactions that lead to euphoria and a general feeling of well-being. So it’s no surprise that the band from Eel Pie Island have put together 11 songs that on the whole should bring a smile to your summer.

The groove of ‘Alice Springs’, the first track, starts things off well with Blaine Harrison singing, ‘I’d stand in the line of fire for you’ and an fittingly bouncy tempo. It tells you this is going to be one heck of a fun record. Not really sure where they were going with the title: Alice Springs is close to the geographical center of Australia. The only thing I can think of is that many of your (and our) favourite bands are in Australia right now for Splendour in the Grass and various Aussie tours. But back to the music…

Just the other day I was making a list of the (too) many American bands that have been trying to retool the Californian surf rock and harmony sound pioneered by the Beach Boys. So many imitators but so few have actually achieved anything close to the masters. One wonders if Mystery Jets intended it but ‘Too Late to Talk’, with its spare percussion and gentle harmonising choruses, is as good as any of the pretenders out there now. It’s beautiful. ‘Lorna Doone’, either named after a biscuit or the 17th century Richard Doddridge Blackmore novel, is equally as lovely. Unfortunately, ‘Waiting on a Miracle’ tries a similar formula but instead of being winsome, it’s cloying. Er…James Blunt? ‘Melt’ is somewhat better.

More fun are the obvious, upbeat pop songs – ‘The Girl is Gone’ (watch session version below) and the singles ‘Flash a Hungry Smile’ (hooray for whistling!) and ‘Dreaming of Another World’. These are the songs that made the fans swoon at Lovebox in London the other weekend. ‘Serotonin’ and ‘Lady Grey’ are also winners, not as much for the lyrics but the guitar and synth grooves underneath them. The big surprise is ‘Show Me the Light’, which feels more appropriate for a underground rave, arms waving about. Maybe this is a nod to the group’s early days holding illegal raves back on the island?


Boys, it’s been 2 long years since ‘Twenty-One’. Welcome back.


‘Serotonin’ is available now from Rough Trade.

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[…] witty and funny, and there are so many songs of theirs I keep close to my heart. Their 2010 album ‘Serotonin’ still gets to me every time I queue it up, as it has such personal meaning for me; when I did my […]

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