Mystery Jets ZooTime

At the beginning of 2006, the British press and many peers of Mystery Jets predicted they — along with Arctic Monkeys — would be the band to succeed. Well, it happened for one of them. Despite modest success in the UK, these eccentrics from Eel Pie Island (a real suburb of London) crafted a peculiar debut album with Making Dens, which was unjustly neglected. For their North American debut on Dim Mak, however, the band have tinkered with their full-length, adding and subtracting songs in order to start afresh. Produced by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco), along with a contribution by superstar DJ Erol Alkan, ZooTime isn’t vastly different from Making Dens but the re-sequencing breathes new life into this already fresh band. Overtly offbeat with a classic twist on the British pop archetype, the band’s prog/psych/folk/pop combo is always exploring new boundaries. There’s a timeless quality ringing throughout ZooTime that perhaps has to do with the generational gap between 50-something guitarist Dan Harrison and his son, singer Blaine. Much in the same respect that the Coral were influenced by Captain Beefheart, Mystery Jets channel past oddities such as Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee while using the modern expertise of Ford and Alkan to boost Kapil Trivedi’s unruly yet playful time signatures (i.e., "Crosswords). On top of the pots’n’pans percussion, childlike piano playing and extraordinary melodies is Blaine Harrison’s exquisite lyrical dexterity. Combining both zealous escapism and heartbreaking autobiography, he’s a true poet that can rely on his magical vocal expression to bring life to his words. Let’s hope 2007 is the year of Mystery Jets. (Dim Mak)