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Mystery Jets - Twenty One

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Twenty One

Mystery Jets

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A surprisingly different affair from the prog/post-punk leanings of their impressive first album Making Dens, Twenty One sees Mystery Jets enthusiastically embracing the '80s retro craze so ubiquitous in the 2000s musical scene. Two key factors are at play here: first, father of singer Blaine Harrison, Henry, is no longer a full-time member, and the sudden drop in the band's average age comes with a much more youthful sound and lyrical outlook. Secondly, electronica DJ Erol Alkan steps up to produce, and his entrance is dutifully accompanied by a markedly dance-oriented new direction, complete with huge bouncing basslines, impossibly tacky synths, and all sorts of gimmicky effects. If any of this seems dismissive, think again, because Twenty One is an utterly terrific collection of pop songs that only professional cynics or musical snobs could possibly dislike. Mystery Jets take the hyperkinetic catchiness of Franz Ferdinand, but replace the Glasgow lads' arty irony with hopeless romanticism -- and you cannot help loving them all the more for it. An earnest and engaging singer comments on a series of boy-girl vignettes, supported by fantastically layered background vocals, ringing guitars, unerring melodic hooks galore, and instantly memorable choruses. The recipe may be well-known, but what a joy it is to find it alive and well in the hands of master chefs. Only a couple of more reflective tracks here and there hint at the band's past (and considerably diverse talents), and still function wonderfully in the context of the album. Yet the stars of the show are the hefty handful of perfect singles including "Hideaway," "Young Love" (a lovely, worldweary duet with Laura Marling), "Hand Me Down," "MJ," "Half in Love with Elizabeth," and best of all, "Two Doors Down," an absolutely irrepressible singalong that, had it been released in 1983, it would now be obligatory for all megahits compilations, among artists like the Human League, Cyndi Lauper, the Bangles, the Cars, Prince, and the rest of the usual suspects. A quarter-of-a-century later, Twenty One may not break new ground, but is without a doubt an instant delight for fans of great pop music done the British way, as well as one of 2008's best and most lovable albums.
© Mariano Prunes /TiVo

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Twenty One

Mystery Jets

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1
Hideaway
00:03:31

Rees, Music - Kai Fish, Composer, Music - Mystery Jets, MainArtist - William Rees, Lyricist - Blaine Harrison, Lyricist - Kapil Trivedi, Composer - Trivedi, Music - Willam Rees, Composer - Erol Alkan, Producer, Keyboards

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

2
Young Love (feat. Laura Marling) album version
00:03:22

Nick Launay, Mixer - Tom Stanley, Engineer - Kai Fish, Lyricist, Engineer, Writer, Music - Ben Mason, Engineer - ATOM, Assistant Mix Engineer - The Mystery Jets, Writer - Mystery Jets, MainArtist - Jimmy Robertson, Engineer - William Rees, Lyricist, Writer, Music - Alan O'Connell, Engineer - Erol Alkan, Producer, Engineer, Instruments - Oliver Wright, Assistant Engineer - Laura Marling, FeaturedArtist

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

3
Half in Love with Elizabeth album version
00:03:18

Cenzo Townsend, Mixer, Engineer - The Mystery Jets, Writer, Music - Mystery Jets, Performance, MainArtist - William Rees, Drums, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Writer, Lead Guitar, Music, Bass - Blaine Harrison, Lyricist, Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Writer - Henry Harrison, Lyricist, Writer - Steven Street, Producer

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

4
Flakes album version
00:04:23

Nick Launay, Mixer - Al O'Connell, Engineer - Kai Fish, Writer - Mystery Jets, MainArtist - Jimmy Robertson, Engineer - William Rees, Writer - Blaine Harrison, Lyricist, Writer, Music - Kapil Trivedi, Writer - Erol Alkan, Producer, Keyboards

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

5
Veiled in Grey album
00:03:54

Mystery Jets, MainArtist - Blaine Harrison, Composer, Lyricist, Music - Henry Harrison, Lyricist - Erol Alkan, Producer, Keyboards

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

6
Two Doors Down
00:03:39

Mystery Jets, MainArtist - Blaine Harrison, Writer, Music - Erol Alkan, Producer

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

7
MJ
00:03:48

Kai Fish, Composer, Music - Mystery Jets, MainArtist - William Rees, Music - Blaine Harrison, Lyricist - Kapil Trivedi, Composer - Trivedi, Music - Henry Harrison, Lyricist - Willaim Rees, Composer - Erol Alkan, Producer, Background Vocals

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

8
Umbrellahead
00:03:09

Mystery Jets, MainArtist - Blaine Harrison, Composer, Lyricist, Music - Erol Alkan, Producer

2008 sixsevenine 2006 Good and Evil / 679 Recordings Ltd.

9
Hand Me Down
00:04:04

Kai Fish, Composer, Music - Mystery Jets, MainArtist - William Rees, Lyricist - Blaine Harrison, Lyricist - Erol Alkan, Producer

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

10
First to Know
00:04:14

Mystery Jets, MainArtist - Blaine Harrison, Composer, Lyricist, Music - Henry Harrison, Lyricist - Erol Alkan, Producer

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

11
Behind the Bunhouse album version
00:12:09

Nick Launay, Mixer - Kai Fish, Composer, Music - Mystery Jets, MainArtist - William Rees, Music - Blaine Harrison, Writer - Kapil Trivedi, Composer, Music - Willam Rees, Composer - Rick Levy, Engineer - Erol Alkan, Producer

2008 sixsevenine 2008 sixsevenine

Album Description

A surprisingly different affair from the prog/post-punk leanings of their impressive first album Making Dens, Twenty One sees Mystery Jets enthusiastically embracing the '80s retro craze so ubiquitous in the 2000s musical scene. Two key factors are at play here: first, father of singer Blaine Harrison, Henry, is no longer a full-time member, and the sudden drop in the band's average age comes with a much more youthful sound and lyrical outlook. Secondly, electronica DJ Erol Alkan steps up to produce, and his entrance is dutifully accompanied by a markedly dance-oriented new direction, complete with huge bouncing basslines, impossibly tacky synths, and all sorts of gimmicky effects. If any of this seems dismissive, think again, because Twenty One is an utterly terrific collection of pop songs that only professional cynics or musical snobs could possibly dislike. Mystery Jets take the hyperkinetic catchiness of Franz Ferdinand, but replace the Glasgow lads' arty irony with hopeless romanticism -- and you cannot help loving them all the more for it. An earnest and engaging singer comments on a series of boy-girl vignettes, supported by fantastically layered background vocals, ringing guitars, unerring melodic hooks galore, and instantly memorable choruses. The recipe may be well-known, but what a joy it is to find it alive and well in the hands of master chefs. Only a couple of more reflective tracks here and there hint at the band's past (and considerably diverse talents), and still function wonderfully in the context of the album. Yet the stars of the show are the hefty handful of perfect singles including "Hideaway," "Young Love" (a lovely, worldweary duet with Laura Marling), "Hand Me Down," "MJ," "Half in Love with Elizabeth," and best of all, "Two Doors Down," an absolutely irrepressible singalong that, had it been released in 1983, it would now be obligatory for all megahits compilations, among artists like the Human League, Cyndi Lauper, the Bangles, the Cars, Prince, and the rest of the usual suspects. A quarter-of-a-century later, Twenty One may not break new ground, but is without a doubt an instant delight for fans of great pop music done the British way, as well as one of 2008's best and most lovable albums.
© Mariano Prunes /TiVo

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