Saturday, 10 November 2012
The Mystery Jets have always been something of a question mark. When they first arrived in 2006,
their bohemian style and prog throwbacks coupled with the father son duo of Blaine and Henry
Harrison left audiences bemused. But the band were unconcerned about appearances, instead letting
their music do the talking.
It's a strategy that paid off. Since the irresistible twee of their debut they've undergone a number
of transformations on each record, surprising and delighting fans and critics alike and with every
step forward sounding more confident and assured. They continue this trend with their latest studio
effort Radlands, which they recorded in a three month period in Austin Texas.
It was the first time the band had recorded outside the UK, and the location makes it's presence
known on the album.
“I think it completely defined the sound of the record and also the content, the lyrics. Going over
there gave the songs a new environment to be in. We had a lot of adventures there that we wouldn't
have had in England. It was very important to be there I think” guitarist Will Rees tells The Beat.
The fourth album from the Mystery Jets see the band again developing their sound, with elements
of country nestling in rather comfortably among the multitude of other influences that find their
way onto their records, always making themselves known but never overbearing.
For Will, the constant reinvention wasn't so much a conscious decision as it was a necessity.
“I think you have to do it to keep the whole thing interesting. We'd get bored otherwise. It's part of a
progression. As long as we've been a band we've always been interested in different types of music
and that's come out in our albums. Each record is just a reflection of where we are at the time and
what we're listening to, and it goes for more than just the music. It comes out in the artwork and the
videos and what we wear and our attitudes”.
It hasn't all been plain sailing for the group though. Radlands was released under a cloud as bassist
Kai Fish announced he would be leaving the band upon the records completion.
“Kai had a baby and he got married and I think he needed to dedicate his time to that. He also had
to pursue his own music and his own ideas. I think being in the Jets wasn't enough for him in that
respect. He's definitely a big part of the last record but I just think he couldn't see himself being on
the road now that he's got a six month old baby girl, I think it was time for him to settle down and
be in one place”.
Will also acknowledges the success of Kai's solo album was a factor in his decision to leave. Life In
Monochrome was release late last year to almost universal critical acclaim and Will thinks that Kai
found it difficult to return to working as a group after that success.
“I think when you have a taste of that, it's hard to give up. When you've got carte blanche on the
whole record and you're in total control of it, fitting back into a role where you have a quarter of the
input is really quite stifling”.
Mystery Jets fans have expressed their concerns about Fish's departure in a number of online
forum's but Will is satisfied that it has worked out for the best.
“Although it was a really hard thing for him to do it actually worked out really well because I know
he's happier and we've replaced him with two new guys who are great musicians. We're sounding
like a proper band”.