ALBUM REVIEW: Mystery Jets – Curve of the Earth | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed



Caroline International

Released: 15.01.16





2016 is still well in its infancy, but yet we already have some utterly phenomenal albums to get completely lost in. Curve of the Earth is no exception; it is a sheer force of sonic energy, with an immaculately produced sound that is gorgeously deep, and thoroughly representative of the near two years of relentless hard work that the Twickenham-hailing indie quartet put into it. Recorded in a self-built studio on the site of a former button factory, Mystery Jets’ sixth LP in ten years represents the most absolute form of their eclectic and colossal sound.

The album begins rather abruptly: an almost siren-like guitar riff in isolation, droning in the ether, slowly swells and explodes into the gorgeous soundscape that is Telomere: a frenetic atmosphere of ambient and emotive piano, deep echoing bass, urgent guitar, relentless snare-rolling and Blaine Harrison’s phenomenal falsetto croon. The band daringly use a different sonic palette on each of Curve…’s magnificent nine songs; the acoustically-driven, but feedback-tinged enormity of Bombay Blue is followed by the minimalistic, pastoral, synth-driven, Mike Leigh-sampling Midnight’s Mirror, and, although they sound like quite a sonic contrast on paper, they flow together perfectly.

Elsewhere, Mystery Jets deliver nostalgia-fuelled, cinematic balladry in the form of 1985, a baroque, orchestral masterpiece that explodes into a stunning showcase for guitarist William Rees’ dextrous fretwork. Whilst Blood Red Balloon deals in grand psychedelia and surreal imagery, Saturnine manages to be both exceptionally minimal and brilliantly intricate, providing another display of Rees’ phenomenal, Fripp-esque solos that sound almost like he is trying to viciously destroy his guitar, a contrast to the restrained and gorgeously golden acoustic figures that he exhibits so brilliantly on the poignant and perfect closer The End Up. In every song, the interplay within the band is astounding, and Harrison’s lyrics are perfectly interwoven with the music, dealing in paranoia, nostalgia, Kafkaesque surrealism, loneliness, joy, wonder and longing.

The band may try on many different guises for the duration of Curve of the Earth, but they quite majestically never fail to succeed, and it is evident that an absurd deal of effort was poured into every single note of each song. Harrison himself has waxed lyrical about the creative freedom that was offered to the band through using their own studio, and this freedom has allowed the ability to command wave after wave of beautiful noise, with each element of every song working perfectly in tandem to create one of the most unique sounding albums of the past decade. The band have quite clearly worked tirelessly on refining their sound, and they succeed at taking every single one of their musical influences and turning them all into something that is truly their own. In the end, it is quite evident that Mystery Jets have created their magnum opus, which perfectly exhibits the sound of a band who have worked incredibly, and intensely hard at ensuring that they are like nothing else. Undeniably, Curve of the Earth is a refreshing and invigorating experience.

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