Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Jet “Jet-Even More Light Than Shade”

Thirty two years ago, Jet’s self-titled debut album was released on CBS (not to be confused with the modern day band of the same name). Produced by Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, Foreigner, the Cars, Cheap Trick), the record has become an underground classic among 70s rock and glam connoisseurs. Now, RPM Records, an offshoot of Cherry Red Records, has assembled a handsome two disc reissue of this sought after collector’s item. Included are extensive linear notes by Dave Thompson that eloquently bring you up to speed on the band’s history.

The Jet line-up consisted of Andy Ellison on vocals, Davey O'List on guitar, Peter Oxendale on keyboards, Martin Gordon on bass / songwriting and Chris Townson on drums, and is best remembered as an early incarnation of what became Radio Stars. The RPM reissue features the original album in all is analogue glory and a bonus disc collecting all the band's recordings from before and after the album, and which includes previously unreleased material. The sound quality is not the best, but the songwriting shines through, and fans of T. Rex, Flamin’ Groovies, and even some Cheap Trick are going to be happier than pigs in slop. I would also recommend Jet to fans of Butch Walker’s more recent records, which have been heavily influenced by T. Rex.

Standout tracks to sample include “Start Here”, “Brain Damage”, “It Would Be Good”, and “Cover Girl”. Disc 2 is strictly for collectors, with uneven sound quality between the various hodgepodge of demo material and live cuts. The never before heard tracks are sure to please longtime fans who no doubt will praise RPM for bringing this material to their ears at long last.

They don’t make music like this anymore, so the best way to get your fix is to dig into the crates of LPs at dusty record shops. Deep in a dark musty corner, you will find some records that never made it big but should have by all accounts. Jet is one of those bands, and to have their record more accessible to the masses by being reissued on CD is a real treat.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 11

Martin Gordon has a web site here.

Listen to “Start Here”