The one-two punch of “Greatest Hits” and “The Hale Bop” make Mystery Jets’ Radlands one of the better albums of the year so far, a worthy exploration into 70s stylized rock and roll that has been sorely lacking in popular music.
For a British based band that made waves in 2008 with Twenty One, a record with a decidedly 80s synth pop sound, the radical departure in style would often spell disaster, yet Radlands manages to run the gamut of 70’s rock from Neil Young’s heartland Americana to David Bowie’s grunge-glam rock with great results.
“The Hale Bop” is such an example of Mystery Jet’s excellent reinterpretation of what made Bowie so great in the 70’s, a charismatic vocal performance, great guitar melodies and a frenetic groove.
In a time of retromania, Nick Waterhouse has the scene on lockdown, both updating the rocker with glasses look of Buddy Holly and the dapper sartorial style of Mad Men, Waterhouse’s debut LP Time’s All Gone echoes the early 60’s music scene not only with it’s classic album cover style, but with the gritty blown-out R&B concoction that made parents worry about the sexual willies of rock & roll. Waterhouse doesn’t care if you decide to film from the waist-up though, he’s a man’s man, the one who steers away from clear liquors and revels in dark bars and whiskey shots straight up. For every part that Mayer Hawthorne is evoking he clean cut soul of Smokey Robinson, Waterhouse focuses on the dirty fuzz of R&B that the Rolling Stones called home, and at the ripe young age of 25, he’s only just getting started. “Indian Love Call” has that old school swagger straight from the start, the uplifting guitar, the cooing background vocals, the sabulous sax and a dark live sound. Be sure to check out his album opener, “Say I Wanna Know” as well.
Justin Townes Earle gets it. Sure, his music isn’t always revolutionary but he puts new breath into old styles as if he were the one who created the genre in the first place. “Maria” which is the fifth song on his upcoming album Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now is a fine example, a shimmering number that’s a little bit Memphis soul mixed with Springsteen and Van Morrison. While the golden warmth of the arrangement is a plus here, it’s truly his voice, the light in the gloaming, that wins you over, he doesn’t as much sing as he inhabits his songs and he’s a true talent in Americana. Check out the beautiful “Down on the Lower East Side" below as well.