‘Radlands’ (Rough Trade)
‘Radlands’, eh? Could you imagine the incredibly English indie-pop fops we used to know even saying this word, let alone using it to name their album? It’s a fearless Mystery Jets we encounter here; boasting a sassy collection of songs written on a trip to Austin, Texas that saw them set up house in a wooden shack on the banks of the Colorado river, playing on the porch by day and to an audience of deer and intoxicated locals in the backyard at night.
Listening to this fourth offering, you’re right there with them, from the moment the opening title track ushers in hazy acoustic guitars, woozy solos and a soaring melody. Pretty soon Blaine Harrison and co. are dabbling in blues (‘You Had Me At Hello’), kicking up rock‘n’roll sandstorms (‘Someone Purer’, ‘Lost In Austin’), sweetly crooning country twang-tinged duets (‘Take Me Where The Roses Grow’), successfully attempting falsetto funk (‘The Hale Bop’) and – perhaps most uncharacteristically of all – flirting with nuns and gospel choirs (‘Sister Everett’).
Yes, ‘Radlands’ is an experiment, but it’s also the joyous sound of a band embracing the unfamiliar; their boldest and most fantastically frisky record to date.