Guilty Pleasure of the Month

Shine On (Atlantic)

By Kevin Gibson

Jet's Get Born was my guilty pleasure of 2004. It was raucous dumb fun, with great tunes like "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" Sure, it was a rip-off of "Lust For Life," but so what? It made for great listening.

Well, the Aussie-born Jet is up to its old tricks again with the follow up, Shine On. This is simple, fun, raucous rock 'n' roll, at times sounding like the Black Crowes and the Rolling Stones and occasionally channeling the Beatles.

"Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" is two-and-a-half minute, tambourine-laced romp that uses just about every rock cliché ever invented (hell, even the title is a cliché). And yet, somehow Jet pulls it off with the wide-eyed panache of a 16-year-old going on his first joy ride in the old man's car.

"Bring it on Back" slows things down with a pseudo-psychedelic feeling, reverberating ballad that winds its way through late-Beatles pop and mid-1970s radio schlock the way Cheap Trick has done time and time again. Similarly, "Rip It Up" starts with an Eddie Cochran riff and kicks into an overdrive that AC/DC would be proud of (but with hand claps). And "Shiny Magazine" is so sweet in a Paul McCartney and Wings kind of way that it might actually cause cavities. The acoustic and beautiful "Eleanor" takes the same path.

Once again, Jet succeeds in spite of itself.

Honestly, it's Jet's total lack of fear or conscience that makes it good. They don't have any problem with putting in the harmonized "ooooh" backing vocals that many bands might try to avoid in order to sound cooler or more modern. Jet isn't afraid of the easy hook, or the tinkly pop sounds that make girls coo. And it certainly isn't afraid of the piano-driven panty-peeler ballad (see the title track).

Check this lyric from "Shine On": "And if the moon had to run away / And all the stars didn't wanna play / Don't waste the sun on a rainy day / The wind will soon blow it all away."

Awww. What I'm saying here is that Jet is a pop band, plain and simple, not all that far removed from the Knack. And I'm OK with that. Going back to the title song, it's also true that Jet reminds me at times of less successful bands like the criminally-overlooked Candy Skins from back in the 1990s, or the La's. For an old power-pop guy like myself, that's not a bad place to be.

And this album is packed with 15 songs that all complete their mission with similar carefree aplomb. If you like double-tracked vocals, maddeningly catchy hooks and über-easy melodies, you'll love this album. If you're looking for something haughtier, you may want to look elsewhere.

As for me, maybe I'm just a pop apologist. If so, I'm going to turn up the volume and have fun with Shine On. My friends can laugh all they want.

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