From the psychedelic scampery of 2006’s Making Dens album, Mystery Jets have teetered on the brink of breakthrough success without quite making it. Fitting into the lineage of classic British pop exemplified by the likes of Squeeze, Pulp and Blur, the band have quietly amassed a sizeable arsenal of shoulda-been hits.
The opening title track starts ominously, with an uncanny resemblance to Radiohead’s Reckoner, before exploding into a widescreen rock song that suggests that Mystery Jets’ time in the United States has seriously affected their sound (just check the big Texas-shaped photo on the sleeve). Its influence underpins much of the record, with You Had Me At Hello showcasing a hitherto unexpected Eagles influence and The Ballad of Emerson Lonestar (the clue could be in the title) similarly indebted to a contemporary brand of country-rock.
Throughout their career, Mystery Jets have been unafraid to embrace genres that many consider deeply naff and Radlands continues this proud tradition with The Hale Bop’s joyous take on disco. They’re on safer ground with the witty indie of Greatest Hits and album stand-out Take Me Where The Roses Grow: a gorgeous duet with solo singer Sophie-Rose.
Frustratingly patchy, we again get hints that Mystery Jets have what it takes to become one of our most beloved pop bands, without quite getting there.