Jet's current album may not be zooming up the charts like the band's 2003 debut did, but Shine On still contains all the Anglo rock elements that made Get Born such a breath of retro fresh air.
If anything, Shine On finds the young Seventies rock enthusiasts of Jet more clearly expressing their two contrasting musical interests than on their previous effort. Raunchy boogie rock numbers like "Holiday" and "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" allow the band to unleash its inner AC/DC, while mid-tempo anthems like "Bring It On Back" and the epic title song sound like vintage Oasis thanks to their sweeping sing-along choruses.
The melodies may not be quite as sharp this time - there's no "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" or the Lennon sound-alike "Look What You've Done" to make the album really stand out from the pack. And the songwriting team (guitarists Nic Cester and Cameron Muncey) tends to fall back on rock clich s in both the album's chord progressions and its lyrics, neither of which will win any awards for originality. But where the band does indeed shine on is in its general enthusiasm and good-natured, bloke-in-the-pub vibe, which strips away any pretense and exposes Jet members as true rock and roll fans.
Shine On's charms are evident - in particular, the lilting "Hey Kids" and the exquisite Everly Brothers harmonies of the acoustic love song "Eleanor" prove that this a group with a beating heart. And what sets Jet apart - even as it begins to sound like so many bands that came before it - is that ability to create a raucous noise on one song and a sentimental, melodic classic full of depth and feeling on the next. So if you like switching moods between songs and have a penchant for classic rock radio, Jet is likely to be the band for you.
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE
The Black Parade
Talk about another band with an ear to the past: My Chemical Romance's third album, The Black Parade, is steeped in its own Seventies rock tradition - wretched excess. And it does it so well it's irresistible.
Ostensibly a loosely knit concept album about mortality, The Black Parade contains all the bombastic overkill one would expect from a New Jersey band with heavy metal-meets-Broadway ambitions.
Borrowing from rock operas and albums including The Who's Tommy and Quadrophenia and Green Day's American Idiot, singer and lyricist Gerard Way speaks for every insecure teenager when, against a stark David Bowie "Five Years" chord progression, he sings in the death-themed opener "The End" that "if you look in the mirror and don't like what you see, then you know what it's like to be me."
The album immediately veers into "Dead" - you may be able to see a theme taking shape - a Cheap Trick/Queen pop rave-up.
The Black Parade is full of muscle and grandeur, with piano flourishes and power chords fighting for attention but coming in a distant second to Way's powerful Freddie Mercury-style vocals.
Mixing humor ("Mama"), pathos ("Cancer"), cabaret (Liza Minelli makes a cameo!), power ballads ("Disenchanted") and slick old-fashioned, big-hair arena rock, My Chemical Romance has created an enchanting, ambitious and entertaining universe. That's something you can't say about too many bands in 2006.