Adventures Of Jet - Muscle (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Adventures Of Jet

Muscle (2003)

Suburban Home

This Dallas Texas trio is not your typical synth-pop rock. While they are poppy and every song is drenched with synthesizers, there are some key differences that could turn those of you opposed to the genre to their side. The first is the complexity of the synth parts. Not just anyone could play these parts; most bands in this genre have keyboard parts you could play with one finger. AOJ's synth parts span the majority of every song and are quite technical and not repetitive, and they act as countermelodies instead of most bands' three note loop parts. They also use some really cool different synth sounds, nodding to their new wave influences.

Another thing that sets this band apart is their fondness for the concept album. This album, their second, has the running theme of muscle cars, hence the title. But it's not as shallow as it sounds, it delves into the adolescent life associated with racing and, even deeper, into the idea that these crazy teens are trying to hold onto their youth, not wanting their best days to be in the past. They pull this off well most of the time, but some of the lyrics still come off as silly. Lyrics like: "One flash, one burst / I always end up first / I'm tired of always winning / I'm going home where I always lose" from "Home, Where I always Lose" and "I'm not gonna drag tonight / No, I'm not in the mood for a fight" from "Drag" are funny at first listen, but nevertheless these two songs are damn catchy and two of my favorites on the album. Another great track would be "Run Charger," with its driving beat and spacey background vocals behind a cool melody, and harpsichord-sounding keyboards in the bridge.

Individually, I like every song, but listening to the entire album is a bit tough. For one, it's long (12 long songs at 52 minutes), and the songs are too similar. The tempos and dynamics vary little from song to song, and I could have used a rest from the poppy-ness in the middle of the album with maybe a ballad-type song, or one in a minor key even, but they won't give us one. Overall, this album is good, just a bit long-winded and silly sounding at times. Synth fans will dig this for sure, and the rest of you may want to give it a shot in two or three songs bursts.