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Reviving the classic rock sound: Don't tell these Aussie rockers it's not 1977
By Michael Summers
Fort Wayne Reader
Band — Jet
Album — Get Born
Label — Elektra Records
This Australian four-piece has benefited from probably one of the best kinds of promotions a rock band can get these days: TV ad placement. It’s their “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” you can hear on Apple’s iPod commercial (it’s the “one, two, three. . .” song). Their credibility has taken some blows, but on Get Born, their debut album, Jet’s brand of greasy, beer-soaked rock n’ roll offers a pretty good argument for credibility being sometimes over-rated.
The music on Get Born is nothing you haven’t heard before. “Roll Over DJ” lifts whole chunks from Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business,” while the main riff of “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” sounds a heck of a lot like Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life” (or the Jam’s “Town Called Malice,” or the Supremes’ “Can’t Hurry Love”). But Jet injects these songs with enough energy and Stonesy swagger to pull it off.
It’s the rockers Jet are best at. The two above, plus “Last Chance,” “Get What You Need” and a handful of others are packed with snarling riffs, thundering drums, and blistering, trashy guitar solos. It’s the ballads that cause Jet some problems. They try to infuse the slow songs with a Keith Richards’ bleary-eyed world-weariness that they simply haven’t been around long enough to really make believable. Some of them are just plain boring. Only “Look What You’ve Done,” which once again sounds like someone else (Slade doing a Beatles’ ballad, or something on the next Oasis album), actually makes the grade.
Once again, originality is not Jet’s strong point. If you’re someone who thinks rock n’ roll needs to be challenging, innovative, and groundbreaking, you probably won’t like Get Born that much. In fact, you’ll probably agree with Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, who said that Jet depresses him so much that they make him not want to make music (not that the Strokes have much of a claim on originality).
On the other hand, if your main criterion for rock n’ roll is that it sounds like the band “means it, man!” then you’ll probably find something to like here. Australia has a long tradition of gut-bucket rock bands, from AC/DC to You Am I, and Jet seems to want to be the next torch-bearers for that legacy rather than striking out on their own with something totally new. On many of the songs on Get Born, they show why looking back is not necessarily a bad thing.
I won’t claim that Jet quite reaches the heights of the 70s rock bands that they obviously worship, like early AC/DC, Aerosmith, and the Rolling Stones…and I won’t claim that Get Born signals the beginning of a long, exciting career for the band, either. But at their best, Jet makes for a good time, with a lot of energy, great riffs, and catchy hooks.
And really, what more do you expect from a band whose drummer still wears a “Disco Sucks” T-shirt?