Jet Age – In “Love”

January 01, 1970

(Sonic Boomerang)


Infidelity, it seems, is the new loud. Everywhere you turn,
people are schtupping outside their
relationships (marital or otherwise) – many, like John Edwards, Mark Sanford
and Tiger Woods, in such spectacularly public fashion that the I-word’s become a
spectator sport. Coming soon, to a reality show near you (especially if the
Edwards example holds): Paternity


So it’s probably inevitable that a band would take this
topic, with all its rich lyric and emotional potential, and run with it. That’s
exactly what Silver Spring trio the Jet Age
did on their third album, In “Love”,
which charts the inception, the occurrence and the aftermath of infidelity,
including a frank exploration of the ensuing collateral damage. Cheatin’ hearts
are nothing new in popular music, of course; some would say that if humans
weren’t genetically predisposed to screw around, rock ‘n’ roll, with all its focus
on libido ‘n’ love, might never have happened. And as Jet Age frontman Eric
Tischler would be quick to point out, over the years there have been some true
masters at the chronicling thereof, among them Ray Davies, Pete Townshend and
the Wedding Present’s David Gedge. But off the top of my head, I can’t recall
any bonafide concept albums devoted to the topic, and while I’m not naïve
enough to think that Tischler was specifically inspired by current events, suffice
to say he’s still tapping, even if unintentionally, into the zeitgeist.


That’s not automatically why you should run out and purchase
In “Love” – rather, the album’s sonic
pulchritude and deft turns of lyrical insight are. Its charms are apparent from
the get-go, with explosive strums chording into overdrive against a rhythmic
backdrop as seductive as it is propulsive. From dynamic opener “I’m Starting to
Wonder,” with its Velvets-meet-Husker Du vibe through the irresistible armada
of Townshendesque riffage (and cowbell!) of “I Couldn’t Tell You” to the
jangles-and-tremolo-strafed high-velocity shoegaze of “Lead Me Where You Dare”
(the title’s a nod to another one of Tischler’s faves, Swervedriver), these ten
tunes power their way into your cranium even as they sink their serrated
melodic hooks deep.


And as suggested above, the story line packs its own punch.
Things roughly go like this: boy meets girl, boy gets 7-year itch, boy fucks
girl, boy tells girl he’s married, girl tells boy she’s in a relationship too,
boy and girl both confess to their significant others (it kinda goes badly for
the boy, who also has to break it to his kids that he’s leaving), boy and girl
pledge their eternal love to one another. Happy ending, right? Well, maybe;
there’s an old saying that he who cheats once, cheats thrice, so even though
the final song finds the hero and heroine of the narrative welcoming the future
come what may (“lead me where you dare”), the previous nine songs have each, in
their own way, concisely chronicled enough hopes, fears, joys, confusion, missteps
and recriminations to paint the protagonists of In “Love” as perilously, permanently human, with the potential to
screw up all over again. It’s a wholly believable tale of idealized love and
how that love ultimately reverberates in the real world, which is to say,
things rarely turn out the way we expect them to. Even the way the betrayed
wife reacts has the stinging ring of authenticity when she lashes back in
humiliation, “It’s been seven long years and I’ve suffered, too/ You wanna go?/
Well, why would I keep you?” (Shades of Elizabeth Edwards, Jenny Sanford or
Elin Woods.) Anyone who’s ever cheated on someone, or been cheated on, or both,
will see a little – no, make that a lot
of themselves in the story.


With this release the Jet Age – chief songwriter Tischler on
guitar and vocals, bassist Greg Bennett, drummer Pete Nuwayser – have
decisively come into their own as purveyors of some of the brainiest, brawniest
pop around, and Tischler has also hit an impressive new level as a literate,
provocative songwriter. Fans of the band know that’s saying something: 2008’s What Did You Do During the War Daddy? (a
blazing, politically-themed rock opera – speaking of concept albums) and 2006
debut The Jet
each arrived as fully-formed indie-rock gems, while
Tischler’s prior outfit the Hurricane Lamps already had in place the songwriter’s
patented Who/Clean mélange of hi-nrg melodicism and heart-on-sleeve lyricism. Still,
time, touring and evolving studio savvy play their part with every artist, so it’s
not a cliché here to say that In “Love” finds Tischler & Co. at the peak of what have become rather estimable


Standout Tracks: “You
Were Electrified,” “Lead Me Where You Dare,” “I Couldn’t Tell You” FRED MILLS


The Jet Age will be opening selected shows for the Wedding Present in April. Details here.



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