Ten Songs That Made Me Love...
published: 4 /
Gillian Fish in 'Ten Songs That Made Me Love...' takes us on a personal journey through the music of Mystery Jets.
I'm not sure when I first heard Mystery Jets but I know it was in 2005 sometime and it might have had something to do with MySpace as that's where so many of the bands I loved at the time were discovered. I did however know that they were unlike anything else I had heard and something about their sound grabbed my attention. At the start of 2006 they were on the NME tour line-up alongside Arctic Monkeys, We Are Scientists and Maximo Park so I took myself off to Cambridge Corn Exchange to see them live. I can't remember too much about that gig and although seeing the Arctic Monkeys before they got huge was undeniably special, it was the eccentric band from Eel Pie Island, featuring the singer's dad on guitar, that made the longest-lasting impact on me. So in no particular order here are the ten songs that I've picked as ones that mean the most to me:
1.Horse Drawn Cart
There are more obvious songs I could have chosen from the band's debut album 'Making Dens' but this slow-paced prog-rock song stands out to me because at the time of the album coming out I remember thinking how different it was: haunting and evocative with long guitar solos. The band experimented with all sorts of junkyard bits and bobs and kitchen utensils while recording 'Making Dens' and the layering of sounds is evident on this track.
Both ridiculous and brilliant at the same time, 'Zootime' was one of the first songs I heard from Mystery Jets and one that was unlike anything else I'd heard then or will probably ever hear again. It reminds me of the year I moved to London and of putting it on before nights out. The manic and frantic percussion sounds and tribal-like repetitive chanting "ZOOTIME, ZOOTIME, ZOOTIME" are an assault on the senses, one that almost every Mystery Jets fan would likely include on their ideal set list.
3. Two Doors Down
The quirkiness of 'Making Dens' was followed by the 80s-influenced indie-pop of second album 'Twenty One' which features some of their most commercially successful songs including the wonderfully catchy 'Two Doors Down'. A must on every indie disco DJ's playlist, if it comes on you can pretty much guarantee everyone on the dancefloor will know the words (and the dance routine).
4. Behind The Bunhouse/Twenty One
I may be cheating slightly here as I am including two songs in one although they do both come under the same track listing. 'Behind the Bunhouse' is the crossover from 'Making Dens' to 'Twenty One' for me - the perfect mix between oddity and indie-pop. It's melancholy and wistful to start with before the tempo starts to build gradually with each chorus to a huge crescendo - it really has to be heard live to be fully appreciated. The title track from 'Twenty One' starts to play after a pause at the end of 'Behind the Bunhouse' and was included as a bonus track. I remember the first time I discovered it while listening to the album and it stopped me in my tracks, it showcases the raw emotion that Blaine is able to deliver in his vocals beautifully with a powerful sentiment.
5. Alice Springs
This song is another that starts of slowly and builds to a huge chorus making it a great encore sing-along to the lyrics "I'd stand in the line of fire for you!" The song features on the third album 'Serotonin' and for me it has so many memories of singing (or screaming) along to it at various gigs over the years.
A raw tale about the ending of a relationship is in equal measures comforting and heart-breaking. It's another song that highlights Blaine's vocal ability as he sings about lost love and letting go. Mystery Jets version of a Christmas single is a sincere, heartfelt lighters-in-the-air song that has become one of the biggest singalongs.
7. Lost in Austin
Mystery Jets fourth album 'Radlands' was written and recorded in America and this song probably shows that influence the most. It rarely gets played live but it should do more often: a huge wall of sound with powerful vocals.
8. Someone Purer
The lead single from 'Radlands' provides a great chorus in "Deliver me from sin and give me rock and roll". This song marked a change in musical direction for the band and personally I loved that the 'Radlands' era had its own style and sound that reminds me of a certain time in my life.
Taken from their most recent album 'Curve of the Earth', this anthemic upbeat song both reminisces and looks towards the future. For me it evokes memories of The Maccabees farewell tour in 2017 where Mystery Jets were the support, hearing this song every night during the tour made me realise that I was grateful to have the Mystery Jets as one of my most-loved bands.
10. Blood Red Balloon
Another from 'Curve of the Earth', the first time I heard the album in full - played at a special gig at the ICA in London - this almost-six-minute-long track blew me away, euphoric and atmospheric with rousing guitar solos it returns to their prog-rock influences but with a bigger, matured sound and feels like the song the band were always destined to ma