Saturday 1 September 2012

A Sky Jet Black - Japanese Moon

Album review by KevW

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something 'Blue Monday'. That mildly altered wedding superstition is a bite-size summation of the third album by this Austin new-wave collective. Something old? Well their sound heavily relies on the late 70s and early 80s post-punk and new wave bands for its sound. Something new? Yes, despite aiming to make this record seem like a relic from a bygone era, unavoidably modern influences creep in and although you may be able to pull the wool over a few eyes, many people would recognise this as a recreation rather than an original. Something borrowed? Apart from sounds of yore, A Sky Jet Black tackle The Stone Roses classic 'I Wanna Be Adored' on this album. Something 'Blue Monday'? From the opening bars it's clear that New Order are a significant influence here.

Both 'Be My' and 'Sunday' are adorned with Peter Hook style bass playing, but they nail it and it actually ends up sounding preferable to anything the man himself has made for at least fifteen years. Curiosity will naturally draw attention to the Roses cover (and they couldn't really have picked a better time to do it). In format and structure it remains very faithful to the original; in terms of sound it actually manages to come across as a version that predates the 1989 release. It's cleaner than the early Roses demos but it sets its stall out in the indie/goth of five or so years previous. You may even be able to convince a newcomer to 80s alternative music that this was the original that Brown, Squire and co. covered for their debut. It's always dangerous territory taking on a song of such stature but they carry it off well.

It's then back to more Hooky-inspired bass the title-track which adds electronic beats and a heavily processed vocal. With the exception of the mediocre 'Heart On Your Sleeve' and the monotone 'So Far Away' you'll struggle to find any fault besides the lack of originality, and as that's the whole point of the album that criticism is null and void. The ancient synths, snappy beats and crisp yet fuzzy production generate the noise they're after perfectly.  A Sky Jet Black seem like a band out of time, almost like entering a time-warp that transports you back thirty years, luckily it's a nostalgia trip that's well worth taking.

A Sky Jet Black's website

The Catch Bar, London UK, Sunday, Sept 2
Dublin Castle, London UK, Monday, Sept 3
The KRAAK, Manchester UK, Wednesday, Sept 5
The Louisiana, Bristol UK, Thursday, Sept 6
Lock 42, Leicester UK, Friday, Sept 7
BAD VIBRATIONS FEST, The Shacklewell Arms, London UK, Sunday, Sept 9

Stream or buy the album

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