Shaka Rock

Written by: TL on 11/11/2009 14:14:21

Okay people, how many of you out there, when you think of the band Jet, think of anything but their hit single "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"? Not a whole lot of you I would wager, and the same is the case for me, hence I must admit that I was never exactly over-excited to hear and review the most recent album from a band which I think most consider a one hit wonder. However, seeing as all our other writers are too busy clearing out reviews from their own favoured genres, it falls upon me (as always) to elope the boundaries of my interest, and give the album, called "Shaka Rock", a chance anyway.

Listening to this album, it quickly dawns upon me that Jet aren't exactly easy to pigeonhole. At first, my impression was to smack them with a kind of garage/rock'n'roll label (with The Von Bondies in mind as a similarity), but the more I listen, it becomes apparent that there are plenty of reason to compare the Australian quartet with contemporary British bands, like Stereophonics or Primal Scream, as well to acknowledge their many references to the more grown man's rock bands, like Rolling Stones, The Who, and in my ears also U2 in many cases.

The name that most often pops up in my head though, is Mando Diao, because when all those mentioned items are put together, the result is an all too familiar sound of indie/garage attitude, spiced with plenty of hints towards the classics of rock'n'roll. It's solid as shit, it's cooler than a polar bear with sun glasses, and yet, even after multiple listens, I still have a problem with it, one that I suggest is also the reason that most of you haven't heard of this band beyond "Are You Gonna Be My Girl". The thing is, that as cool as this is, I never feel like my reaction to it goes beyond mild enjoyment. It doesn't quite rock me, or inspire any similarly exhilarating feeling. By going for the rough garage-ish expression, the band loses the opportunity to sound as thoughtful as U2 for instance does, even if a song like "Let Me Out" constantly reminds me of that band, and then all that's left to win the listener over, is their swagger and rock'n'roll attitude, both of which are indeed convincing, yet no contestant to those of better bands, both old and new - and here I'm thinking especially of Mando Diao or even the godfathers in the 'Stones.

It could be that, or it could be that Jet just don't have it in them to write songs that consistently rise above "cool" to the level of "awesome". This suggests the frightening perspective that they might indeed be an over-hyped one hit wonder - annoying memories of The Subways come to mind - however, I would say that "Shaka Rock" shows them from a more enjoyable side than that. I'd say that if you're hungry from something retro, go for Mando Diao first, and if it's simply something Australian that's your strange craving, then The Parlor Mob are a course coming with a higher recommendation, but if you're still starved after both of those, then there's no reason to not have Jet for dessert. If they want to be the main course however, they have to do somewhat better than this, and while I won't presume to know how to do so for sure, a suggestion could be to think about what they themselves can bring to the table, rather than just continuing with the mixing of old and proven ingredients.


Download: Seventeen, Times Like This, Let Me Out
For The Fans Of: Mando Diao, Stereophonics, The Von Bondies, Primal Scream, U2

Release Date 25.08.2009
Eleven Seven

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