GETTING away from what you know can do us all the world of good.
And while you might think a band who tour as consistently as the Mystery Jets may rather crave home comforts it wasn’t so for their latest and arguably most ear-catching new album.
Radlands – their fourth long-player, out April 30 via Rough Trade Records – was recorded in Austin, Texas as well as in their native Streatham, London.
“We’ve always wanted to make a record in America and after touring Serotonin the time felt perfect to go and do it,” explains singer Blaine Harrison.
“Our first three albums were entirely conceived and recorded in London so going out to Austin felt like the furthest place from everything we knew.
“We arrived with a handful of songs, but one in particular felt like it captured the spirit of why we had come there. It was called Radlands – a fusion of the 1970s Terrence Malick film Badlands and Redlands, Keith Richard’s Sussex estate – which is also what we named our studio; a big old wooden house on the banks of the Colorado river.”
Co-produced by Mystery Jets and Dan Carey (of Hot Chip, Franz Ferdinand, Emiliana Torrini fame) – Blaine and bandmates Will Rees, Kai Fish and Kapil Trivedi travelled only with essentials.
“All we brought on the plane were the guitars on our backs, so we ended up borrowing all this amazing valve gear from an old guy called Jack who ran a little studio up in the hills, which is why the songs sound the way they do.
“In the daytime we wrote lyrics on the porch and in the evenings a family of deer would gather in the back yard to hear us play. Some nights we drove into town to drink and bring people back to play on the songs.”
London still had a big part to play in what Sheffield fans on Monday will hear, however.
“When we arrived home, it was hard to believe any of it had even happened. It somehow all felt like a strange dream. But when Dan Carey heard it and invited us to his studio we listened back to everything and it was all there, it was real. All we were missing were some gospel singers, which he found in the Streatham community ladies choir.”
A year on from that and Mystery Jets are under way with a suitably intimate tour that lands them at Queen’s Social Club.
A limited edition double vinyl format of Radlands will include an illustrated comic called Radlands – The Ballad Of Emmerson Lonestar with covers by Eisner Award-winning British comic artist Glenn Fabry. Richard Elms co-wrote the comic with The Mystery Jets.
See the band’s official album trailer at www.mysteryjets.com