With a touch of AC/DC, a dose of the Ramones and a shot of classic Stones, Jet is closest to the early Pretenders. But they are far more than the collective sum of their influences.
Guitarist/vocalist Nic Cester and his younger brother, drummer Chris, ceaselessly listened to their parent's Rock records. Nic, reacting negatively to early '90s Grunge, decided to go in another direction. His plan was bare-bones Rock 'n' Roll - raw, basic and primal. With guitarist Cameron Muncey and bassist Mark Wilson, the Melbourne, Australia group hit the club circuit. Their debut single "Take It Or Leave It" got noticed leading Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards to champion the band. From there Jet released their U.S. debut "Get Born" with the pulsating lead off single "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" followed by "Cold Hard Bitch."
"Get Born" soared up the charts and Jet became huge. Tours, magazine covers and all the other trappings of fame followed.
In September, '06, Jet released their sophomore effort, "Shine On." The first single was "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is." But there was more. "'Stand Up' is the biggest Rock song in the world -- like 'Cold Hard Bitch' times five," said Nic Nice promo effort there. But things got off to a rocky start when Jet had to cancel the first of two dates on their North American tour because Nic was suffering from acute laryngitis. Philadelphia and Toronto shows got axed though the band promised to make them up. A couple nights later Jet performed on NBC's Tonight Show With Jay Leno. So they were soon back on track.
Jet took part in '09's Sound Relief in Melbourne and Sydney. They shared the stage with Wolfmother, Coldplay and several other bands. Proceeds went to the Australian Red Cross and the Victorian Bushfire Crisis.
"We've got to stop writing; we got f***ing too many songs," joked Chris Cester about the "Shaka Rock" sessions. Recorded at Atlantic Sound Studios in New York, the album came out in August, '09.
Prior to "Shaka Rock's" release, Jet, having already launched a supporting tour, had a scary moment. Nic collapsed during a London concert and was rushed to a nearby hospital. The band's website said the singer was "suffering from dehydration and severe low blood pressure." But just two days later, Cester was back on stage with the band performing an acoustic set (in London again). "Nic is resilient and doesn't like to cancel a show," said Wilson.
Jet has a great sound with energy to burn. First single "Are You Gonna Be My Girl," with Wilson's awesome bass line, is just flat out brilliant. Album opener "Last Chance" is a "draggin' through the mud" Rocker - dirty and tough. Straight-ahead Rockers "Get Me Out Of Here," "Cold Hard Bitch" and "Rollover DJ" are exciting and command attention. The group also nails "loser Rock" with "Get What You Need" ("call her on the telephone, she's not there"). "Take It Or Leave It," their Australian debut single, deserves the notices it got. The two-guitar attack explodes into high-energy neo-Punk. This is a very impressive debut. One of '03's best.
"Shine On" raises the question - what's so difficult about recording a Rock album? Have the drums lay down a fierce, sharp beat (that alone can cover a multitude of sins). Let the bass fall in. Have a guitar or two whip up a frenzy, then top it with throat blistering vocals. Pretty straight forward. So why does it take five songs before "Shine On" delivers its first killer track, "That's All Lies?" They do it again on "Rip It Up" so it is still within their grasp. The single, "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is," a tough sounding pop-Rock tune never really soars despite the vocal affects (which are effective). And that's the problem with "Shine On." The wild, loose sound, delivered with lethal precision on "Get Born" has been restrained. When Jet is not running flat out and at their best, the songs lurch along in fits and starts.
There is an awkward moment at the beginning of "Shaka Rock." "K.I.A. (Killed In Action) comes out heavy and serious. Is Jet trying to be Green Day? Or worse, The Clash? Obviously, social commentary is not in them.
Fortunately, "Beat On Repeat" puts them on more familiar turf - although it's a bit shaky. Jet finds their footing on "She's A Genius." The "groupie/love interest" track is a slack version of The Knack's "My Sharona." As good a place for them to be as anywhere.
A few decent pop songs; "Seventeen," "Goodbye Hollywood" and "She Holds A Grudge," anchor the album. But the pulsating "La Di Da" and the messy Rocker "Start The Show" are the ones that make an impact.