Artist Spotlight: Mystery Jets captures spirit of past and future

Mystery Jets performs at the Manchester Cathedral in Manchester, England on Oct. 22, 2010. (blikeng/Creative Commons)

Today’s artist spotlight is on the English indie rock band, Mystery Jets.

Mystery Jets was formed by Henry Harrison (lyrics, piano), Blaine Harrison (vocals, guitar and keyboards) and William Rees (guitar, vocals) when they were at school, originally as a group of friends who bonded over exchanging cassette tapes, according to the BBC. They then added their other band member Kapil Trivedi on the drums. 

Their new album “Curve of the Earth” was released via iTunes and Spotify on January 15, 2016. The 9-song record puts the listener on a journey filled with textures, swaying vocals and tension-pulling synths. 

The album is noticeably reminiscent of “Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd’s critically acclaimed concept album released in 1973. It’s got a modern twist to the British psychedelic rock, which the band has set out to master. The album is experimental, but grounded with a modern form. The choruses hit hard and many of the verses are layered with dubbed-over reverbed background vocals, cascading synths and guitar solos.  

When going into the process of recording their fifth album “Curve of the Earth,” the band had lost management, publishing and one band member, according to DIY Mag. Gaining this newfound independence was reliving for the band, for in an interview with DIY Mag, the singer Harrison said, “I think there was less pressure…We didn’t have to adhere to anything.”

The band set up their own studio in a button factory and made the creative process fresh again for the new album.

In the same interview, Rees said, “We wanted to do something that was great…well, initially we wanted to make a space rock concept record. And we did that actually…We kind of made two albums in the first two and a half year period. There was ‘Curve Of The Earth: The Beta Version’ before what we have now.”

The process of ultimately creating a record that encompassed the band’s ambitions and resonated with the average listener was one that took over two years. 

The cover art for “Cure of the Earth” has no words displayed on it, simply showing the Earth’s horizon surrounded by the darkness of space. From the very beginning, merely looking at the art sends the listener on a psychedelic trance. The opening track “Telomere,” serves as the perfect example of what to expect form the album, ambience, unpredictable chord progressions and soaring bridge sections. 

Notable tracks by Mystery Jets on their new album “Curve of the Earth” are “Telomere,” “Bombay Blue,” Bubblegum,” and “1985.”

As much as the album tips its hat to past inspirations, the synth work and overall production is modern and its concepts are more relevant than ever. In their second to last track “Saturnine,” Harrison sings, “You may be hypnotized or perhaps you’ve realized / That to be famous and thin is the greatest goal of the age we’re living in.” Their lyrical work balances atmospheric imagery with sentiments rooted in observation of the modern age. 

Mystery Jet’s determination to create a space rock concept album was relentless, but they ultimately broke through with a new, fresh sound that takes you through a journey reaching the depths of your deepest thoughts and the height of your universal imagination.


Brett Steinberg is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brett.steinberg@uconn.edu. He tweets @officialbrett.