Album Review: Jet – Shaka Rock

by Tony Butterworth on September 1, 2009

Hey guys, the truck's on fire.  Guys?

Hey guys, the truck's on fire. Guys?

Australia’s Jet is back with Shaka Rock,  its follow up to 2006’s Shine On.  Can these Aussie rockers bring the goods again, or have they moved on or changed their sound?  Let’s see.

First off, song length, my personal current “issue.” This one looks good thirteen songs (I believe I have one bonus track from the official release), only two of them a touch over four minutes, and three of them below three, I’m already liking this.

The album opens with “K.I.A,” perhaps not the best opener ever since it really doesn’t represent the rest of the album, a strange song, at times echoing Oasis and at others something like maybe The Offspring.  Not a great song for me and not really the style I like.  “Beat on Repeat” is another, almost, dance style song with a beat, and a strange bouncy singing style. At first I wasn’t digging it but around half way through a fantastic chorus arrived and saved the day.

“She’s a Genius” opens with a solo bass line, slowly adding guitars and drums, leading us to your atypical Aussie simple AC/DC style rocker, once again saved by a solid chorus.  “Black Hearts (On Fire)” is another simply bluesy rock song that changes up at the chorus into something a bit more interesting, bring to mind The Sterephonics.

Next is, for me, the highlight of the album, “Seventeen.” a simply stunning pop rock song.  Opening with some Toto like piano and vocals sung well (instead of shouted like many other tracks).  If you like pop/rock or even rock/pop and can only listen to one track, this is the one.  Nothing new but a comfortable familiarity. “La Di Da” returns us to the more classic Jet with simple guitars and melody but once again a solid and interesting rousing chorus.

“Goodbye Holiday” starts with, the now formulaic, blues rock start but again delivers an engaging chorus, highlighted by it’s simple stabbing keyboards and vocal approach.  I wouldn’t have though this from the verse but this is a great song.  Jet seems to have a tendency to produce basic verses with compelling choruses.

“Walk” starts ballad-like but turns into another Oasis style jam out song, not bad but the three minute length was appreciated.   “Times Like These” opens with more AC/DC like riffs but quickly changes to a more modern sound, delivering a chanted chorus bringing to mind some of the current English “lad” bands.    “Let Me Out” is another great song, stylistically more mature than some of the simple rockers, this one makes me think of The Hold Steady with a more modern vocal and could have been a Tom Petty track in another life.

“Start The Show” is an odd choice for the eleventh track, it might have been more at home as song #1, though it would not have represented the album I guess.  Not much for me hear, kind of a blues based jam.  The last official track is “She Holds A Grudge,” the longest song on the album, pretty much a ballad featuring some attractive slide guitar and a winning melody. Bonus track “Don’t Break Me Down” keeps up the formula while keeping things interesting.

Overall I enjoyed this album, despite the seeming similarity of the tunes there’s actually quite a lot of variety that has kept me interested through two listens.

Visit Jet’s website at http://jettheband.ning.com/

Watch the video for “She’s a Genius”

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