Mystery Jets have determinedly ploughed the indie-pop furrow for many years now, consistently churning out above-average tunes, resolutely unbuffeted by stylistic and generic developments elsewhere. Phrases like ‘well-crafted’ and ‘accomplished songwriting’ float around the band’s music, yet they’ve never really thrilled, never really engaged any other emotion than transient happiness born of good fun – they’re a sunshine band, you’d dance to them at a festival but the music would languish unplayed at home.

This fourth album was recorded in Texas, but while a physical departure for the band, musically it’s very close to home. Title track ‘Radlands’ briefly suggests otherwise – quiet, considered and far away, this isn’t the Mystery Jets we know. But then, there it comes: a key change, a burst of bright indie-melody, a hooky vocal, and it’s business as usual. ‘Had Me At Hello’ follows up with some stomping glam-rock, and barring briefly intriguing departures for ‘Roses’ and the early-Radiohead stylings of ‘Lost In Austin’, it’s more of the same from Mystery Jets.

By Chris Watkeys

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