Mystery Jets have been a slowly growing force ever since their debut in 2006. Since the release of debut LP Making Dens, the London act have continuously changed their style and scope, while maintaining the roots of who they were when it all began. From the young and earnest Twenty One, to the synth led Serotonin, to the Americana infused Radlands, Mystery Jets have always made an effort to provide a new reason for fans and critiques alike to like and listen to their releases. With the new album Curve of the Earth, the band has definitely gone in an ever-progressive direction.
Opening track and lead single “Telomere” is daunting yet grandiose, with its sprawling and soaring chorus. Its themes are pretty morbid but human all the same. It took me a little while to work out “Telomere” as a song and lyric, before actually looking up what Telomere are. As Wikipedia puts it best, ‘A telomere is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes.’ With this definition in mind, “Telomere”, as a track, is incredibly smart and wise and acts perfectly as the opener to the new MJ album.
An initial observation about Curve Of The Earth is the length of the tracks, with the majority of tracks averaging in excess of five and half minutes in length. This makes Curve Of The Earth an album best listened to on a whole, rather than picking at singles here and there. “Bombay Blue” is the pop track of the album, with nods to their past, while also hinting at what to expect on the remainder of the LP. “Bubblegum” is where the album hits its straps, as it cascades along, becoming eerily reminiscent of The War On Drugs’ material, specifically “Red Eyes”.
“Taken by the Tide”, “Blood Red Balloon”, and “Midnight Mirror” all have nods toward a possible future in Prog-rock, while also showcasing the move way from the initial pop sensibilities that Mystery Jets were originally known for. While this move towards the Prog-rock genre is encouraging, it kind of feels like the band are trying a little too hard to distance themselves from their pop beginnings; some of the tracks, most notably “Blood Red Balloon” and “Saturnine”, lose their way a little.
Closer “The End Up” takes a little while to get going, but peaks just as the album comes to a close. For an album touching on themes of space, life and death, Curve Of The Earth is well rounded and most definitely one that will encourage new fans to join the Mystery Jets fandom, while also giving old fans hope that the band will reach the peak of their powers in the not too distant future.
Review Score: 7.7 out of 10.
Curve Of The Earth is out now.