CD Reviews


Mystery Jets Serotonin (Rough Trade)

Mystery Jets are a very young band hailing from London that has already nailed down the whole international-rock-fame vibe with a lovely gem of an album produced by no less than Chris Thomas (Roxy Music, Sex Pistols). Consisting of 11 dashing tracks that veer from synth-driven power-pop (“Lorna Doone”) to Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd psychedelic jingles (“Too Late to Talk”) to greasy garage rave-ups (“Lady Grey”), Serotonin will convert the most jaded critic by virtue of its pure, uncompromising enthusiasm for Bowie-grade post-punk glam. That frontman Blaine Harrison suffers from spina bifida and needs crutches to get anywhere somehow accounts for the huge imagination on display: If there’s a disc that enables listeners to escape challenging environs in exchange for inventive sonic landscapes, where every song unfurls like a new frontier, this is it. ★★★★☆


The Chemical Brothers Further (Virgin/Freestyle Dust)

Before hearing this disc, I’d have greeted the release of a Chemical Brothers album with a shrug. The British electronic duo was hyped years ago as musical revolutionaries, but the Next Big Thing prophecy failed—as did efforts like 2007’s subpar We Are the Night. Perhaps inspired by the recent avalanche of new, butt-kicking keyboard jockeys (Crystal Castles, Four Tet, etc.), Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have fashioned their best work in a decade, settling on an ideal mix of Krautrock and house. Further pushes the band in a spookier, more psychedelic direction. If you don’t believe me, then snort the opening track, “Snow,” and witness its white blanket of static gradually giving way to a female vocalist confessing: “Love keeps lifting me higher.” More highlights: “Wonders of the Deep” is a New Age ocean adventure worthy of a Cousteau doc, while “Horse Power” hits like a dirty old Cybotron single from Motor City. A return to form, indeed. ★★★☆☆


Moksha Mammal or Machine (Self-released)

Local quartet Moksha sent me a review copy of their debut disc without knowing a crucial bit of info: I absolutely despise jam band pop, groove rock and prog-jazz wankery with a fury that defies reason. The whole scene makes me think of burned grilled cheese, bad acid and women who don’t wash. Still, Mammal or Machine is the only jam band album I find myself popping into the pool patio stereo this summer. I suspect it’s because of the quality of the tunes and the massive guest stardom, particularly the bluesy funk jam “Blind to the Time,” which features Santana’s horn section, and the Caribbean-flavored “Island Thyme,” which spotlights the killer licks of Neville Brothers guitarist Brian Stoltz. There are touches of electronica throughout, confirming Moksha isn’t content to simply follow in Phish’s fin-prints; instead this Vegas-based act aims to please hippies and push musical boundaries. More power to them. ★★★☆☆

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Selected by Jeanne Goodrich, executive director for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.