Wow, it’s been 2½ years since I did a Five-Star Monday piece, and this is for a disc I just bought today, so it may well be too early as well as too late. Jets Overhead are from Victoria, BC, which is near me; what I think deserve the stars are the first two songs from their 2009 No Nations, I Should Be Born and Heading For Nowhere; brilliant pure-pop tunes and can they ever sing. Also there’s a geek angle. (“5★♫” series introduction here; with an explanation of why the title may look broken.)
The Context · The reason I bought this music was because they played it on the radio while I was driving around, and I liked it. How twentieth-century is that? The only other time it’s happened this millennium was Seven Nation Army. What’s new is that for some reason nobody really understands, Vancouver has a radio station that plays good non-formulaic modern music which regularly surprises me, The Peak FM (warning: all-Flash horror). Jets Overhead isn’t the only music The Peak has introduced me to. (Actually, Vancouver suddenly has not one but two pretty-decent radio stations; the other is Shore 104, “The Home of Roots, Rock, & Rhythm”.)
There’s really not a whole lot I can say about these two songs because there’s just not that much writing to do about effortless pop constructs where all the pieces fit together just right. If you like outstanding singing, tons of honey-laden hooks, and decent guitar, you’ll be smiling. Plus there are interesting male/female vocal harmonies, not something we have nearly enough of in the rock world.
It was Heading For Nowhere that originally got my attention, with the nice guitar orchestration and soaring harmonies from Antonia Freybe-Smith. But having sampled the whole record, it’s I Should Be Born that is now pretty well stuck to my hind-brain. That’s a really outstanding one-two song punch.
The rest of the disk is well-written and well-played too; maybe I’ll end up dropping a few more into the 5-★ bucket after a few more listens.
Sampling It · Do I ever feel like a doofus. I had to run an errand to the bank today and the path led past the excellent Red Cat Records; on impulse I stuck my head in and picked this up. Then, when I decided to write about it, I checked out the band’s Web site.
It turns out that the album’s title track is CC-licensed and there for download, plus the rest of the music is available at a decent price from jetsoverhead.bandcamp.com; in “your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire”, to quote the site.
I’m often in favor of buying music on CD; uncompressed audio on a built-in backup medium. But when I’m after a couple of juicy tunes I heard on the radio, these Jets Overhead boys and girls clearly know the right way to sell it.
Oh, and check out their Wikipedia entry for more free-culture notes. Hmm, it says the genre is ambient, which is nuts. Anyhow, I totally recommend spending a couple of bucks starting at their Web site.