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Mystery Jets, Radlands (Rough Trade) ****
SONGS which venture into religion – whether they’ve got it, don’t get it, or they’ve got it in for it – are a mixed bunch.
For every In The Name Of The Father by Black Grape, there’s a Jesus He Knows Me by Phil Collins.
The fourth UK-issued album from Twickenham’s Mystery Jets regularly tackles this shaky territory and finds them not only on the right side of the spiritual divide, but in the form of their careers.
Bassist Kai Fish’s exit and the decision by such a markedly British band to seek inspiration in Texas could have made Radlands a lost-the-plot wreck.
Instead, the musical gear shift suits them perfectly, taking in burnt-out, bottom-of-a-bottle Americana (the title track, Someone Purer, Luminescence), blues (The Nothing), gospel (Sister Everett) and country-disco (The Hale Bop, a blatant rip-off of David Bowie’s The Golden Years, and that doesn’t matter).
Radlands is an album of real and impressive progression, an advert for the benefits of risk-taking and a sign Mystery Jets’ pop days might be over.