Bill Cummings 31/08/2005
Who'd have thought when angular/art rock is in vogue, that a medieval rag-tag five prog/indie five piece from “Eel pie Island” featuring their own father, would be currently be considered one of the best new up and coming bands around? Well if this performance is anything to go by then the Mystery Jets may just have a future beyond the cyclical fads thrown up by the music industry.
Entering to their own crazy soundtrack chant of “Zoo time! Zoo time! Zoo time!.” The youthful (grey-haired Dad apart) Mystery Jets clamber on stage and begin to scurry through their unique brand of melodic tunes. It's ridiculous to try and categorise bands like the Mystery Jets but you can hear faint echoes of other groups in their sound whether it's the melodic and percussive inventiveness of the Beta Band in the lustful way they clatter their myriad of drums, or the echoes of early Pink Floyd in their wide-eyed psychedelic guitar/keyboard jousting melodies, or echoes of folk minstrels of the past in their paens to holidays before "easy jet took over the world."
Engaging and funny on stage, lead singer Blaine tells the crowd the bands keyboards actually “blew up last time we played here: but who needs keyboards right?” Well clearly the Jets do, the stage is bedecked in keyboards, drums, symbols, hubcaps: a veritable array of instruments to bash, and play with, exploring their joyful abandon.
New single “You Can't Fool Me Dennis” affectionately introduced as just “Dennis” tonight: is one of the reasons this rather unlikely band are currently barging their way onto MTV2 and XFM playlists alongside the likes of Bloc Party and the Kaiser Chiefs. “Dennis…” builds so well; twisty guitars, dancing with drums building towards an insanely catchy melodic chanted punky chorus, it kind of reveals a more pop side to the band and probably the reason they are starting to be bracketed along with the in crowd but they are so much more unique than that.
They are joined on stage during the two set closers as members of the crowd battle against each other for the crown of tonight's best crowd member to drum with the Mystery Jets. Set closers are furious there's “Alas Anges” a cacophony of percussion, wailing guitars and a playful little folksy vocal, there's something vaguely 60's-ish about the way the song stops and starts and builds into a sprawling melody, its faintly reminscnant of the Coral, whilst the lyrics are surprisingly dark in places (“Anges you've got scars from head to toe”)
The Mystery Jets might look like they have just stepped off a hippy barge holiday but they produce wonderously inventive music that really doesn't give a damn for current scene's or fads, the sky's the limit then.