Shine On Label: Atlantic Records
Three years between records, especially from debut to sophomore release, is an eternity. In this day of disposable idols and largely forgettable music – used to be you had to at least organize a garage sale to weed out the undesirable albums or tapes in your collection, but now it merely takes a click of the delete button on the iPod – Jet could well have committed career suicide in waiting so long to follow up their exceptional 2003 debut, Get Born. In their defense, it wasn’t as if these four young lads, only a couple years removed from operating forklifts in a Melbourne, Australia spice factory, were sitting around counting their money. The band toured over two years nonstop in support of the debut, opening at times for their longtime heroes the Stones and Oasis. Then brothers Nic and Chris Cester suddenly lost their father to cancer, just as they were set to begin work on the new record.
So Shine On is understandably reflective though not somber, not by any stretch. In fact, this sucker takes the worldwide success of Get Born, three and a half million copies sold and counting, and builds mightily upon it. NME declared recently, “Jet are destined to be planet-sized!” As for the themes within this new album, Nic Cester says, “Everything you do is indicative of where you’re at. On this album, things changed. We were a bunch of pissed-off kids with shit jobs…now things are different.”
What hasn’t changed is the underlying influences that guide Jet’s music. The Rolling Stones, the Beatles by way of Oasis, and fellow countrymen AC/DC are all honored throughout Shine On. British hard rock and a harmony-rich wall of psychedelic sound make for a bigger, better, more diverse mission this time out. “The first album was written for pubs,” Chris Cester grins. “This one is written for stadiums!” “Bring It on Back” boasts larger-than-life rhythm and percussion parts, while the Sgt. Pepper-like choruses are pure Liam Gallagher. The lead single, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is,” has one of the absolute catchiest guitar riffs within an album full of catchy guitar riffs. But it isn’t until five tracks deep that Shine On really takes off to another level, solidifying its landmark status. “That’s All Lies” and “Hey Kids” each drop thundering double time rhythms and Tylenol-ready vocal screams from kid Cester.
But as good as the middle of the record is, it’s not until the final third or so, especially “Stand Up” and “Rip It Up,” that the 40 lb. sledge really comes down. “Rip It Up” would make Bon Scott sorry that he ever slung that final drink. It flat-out rips! Hell, the ballads even work here. “Shine On” is an obvious ode to pappy Cester, while a harmonizer’s dream (“Eleanor”) has drawn deserving comparisons to the Everly Brothers. There’s barely a weak moment on this milestone work. It’s arguably the best album in a year with reckonable competition. Most notably, Jet have left counterparts Kings Of Leon and the Vines in their dust…at least for the time being.