Review of Jet's album Shaka Rock
Sticking with a formula that works has never done their fellow countrymen AC/DC any harm, but after the commercially underwhelming second album Shine On, it looked like Aussie retro rockers Jet may have had to think about reaching for the Korgs and hair dye. Surfing in originally on the tidal wave in garage rock that The Strokes cool-tsunami washed up, the down under strain they represented - along with The Vines and The Datsuns - has lived in the New Yorkers' critical shadow ever since, but with Julian Casablancas about to unleash something fresh and very un-Strokes like, is now the time to trade in that Fender?
Their answer: Not bloody likely! Just like Angus Young and co. the Melbourne quartet are proudly unreconstructed, albeit a generation on, and right from the first chords of opener K.I.A frontman Nic Cester is giving it his best Robert Plant again, riding the way back machine to the time when short hair was for squares and denim was stretched so tight around the crotch that circulation was frequently cut off.
Now nostalgia's great, and single She's A Genius locks on to something the beards who used to present the Old Grey Whistle Test would've called a timeless groove, but by Start The Show things begin to feel very same old same old, a status quo (sic) that you have to reckon won't appeal much to our mass ADHD.
Good job that in between there are a couple of attempts to free themselves from the Alright Now straitjacket, with mixed results. Seventeen is a classic slice of post emo guitars and angst, although the Yanks do it (Did it?) much, much better. Retro but in a good way, Walk carries a wisp of The Stones at their freewheeling, street fighting best from era long forgotten, in which they used to make a fine sounding music which Uncut readers still call rhythm and blues. Predictably this experimentation is a double edged sword, as Beat on Repeat finds Cester warbling like Pete Doherty with a headcold, whilst closer She Holds a Grudge fumbles at Oasis gone country, the results as rotten as that sounds.
Although there's just about enough here for the bystander to get mildly interested in and fans certainly won't feel short-changed, I think we all recognise that next time up Jet definitely need to make that difficult fourth album.