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Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Serotonin

Mystery Jets and PS I Love You at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAbout midway through last night’s show at the Horseshoe, Mystery Jets frontman Blaine Harrison mentioned that earlier that day, they’d learned their US visas had fallen through and as such, this show could have been the first, last and only date on their already-short North American tour. Certainly not news any band who had hauled themselves and no small amount of equipment across an ocean would want to hear. But rather than let it dampen their spirits, the English four-piece channeled any frustrations into an impressive show that, if it turned out to be the only one they played, would still mark the tour as a success. Of sorts.

First up were Kingston duo PS I Love You, who had been making noise figuratively and literally since last year (at least) and were gearing up for the October 5 release of their debut Meet Me At The Muster Station. And while I liked the singles that had preceded the full-length, Muster Station felt like a let down because it rebalanced their sound such that their strengths – the big, melodic college rock-vintage guitar heroics – were turned down and their weaknesses – frontman Paul Saulnier’s Mercer/Krug-aping vocals – were turned up. Obviously identifying this as a deficiency is a subjective judgement, but it made the record feel like a wet blanket on my enthusiasm for the band. An enthusiasm that was rekindled by their opening set, which corrected the cosmic balance by burying the vocals and showcasing their musical sides. Saulnier’s ability to evoke the heyday of Superchunk and Dinosaur Jr. (you could argue their heyday is right now, but I digress) with his fretwork can’t be understated, particularly while handling low end via the bass pedals at his feet. The pair produced a great musical energy despite not having much in the way of stage presence and prompted me to give the album another chance which, really, is as much as you could ask for.

And back to Mystery Jets. I’m a relative newcomer to the band, being only really familiar with their latest album Serotonin, but I find it interesting how they were described to me before I actually got to sit down and listen. Terms like “post-Libertines” and “psychedelic” were commonplace and really, they’re all wrong. Temporally-speaking, they did enter the UK musical landscape after messrs Doherty and Barat made their mark, but they hardly share the same laddish/loutish affectations, instead coming across as unabashedly romantic and with little attitude (meant positively) and the psychedelia tag might apply to their fashion sense, but musically they’re pretty straight-ahead Brit-rock, reliant on great melodies, big choruses and just a touch of danceability. Over the course of an hour, they split their set evenly between Serotonin and its predecessor, 2008’s Twenty-One, and gave the respectably-sized crowd something to get boisterous about – which they did, right through to the soaring encore-closer “Dreaming Of Another World”. Any concerns about what would happen to the rest of the tour were set aside in favour of just enjoying the moment. And it’s just as well for at the time of this writing, the first of two New York shows had been cancelled. Good thing they’ve already got plans to return for more North American shows in January – visas permitting.

Chart and Panic Manual also have reviews of the show.

Photos: Mystery Jets, PS I Love You @ The Horseshoe – September 13, 2010
MP3: Mystery Jets – “Dreaming Of Another World”
MP3: Mystery Jets – “Flash A Hungry Smile”
MP3: PS I Love You – “2012”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Butterflies & Boners”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”
Video: Mystery Jets – “Dreaming Of Another World”
Video: Mystery Jets – “Half In Love With Elizabeth”
Video: Mystery Jets – “Two Doors Down”
Video: Mystery Jets – “Young Love”
Video: Mystery Jets – “Flakes”
Video: Mystery Jets – “The Boy Who Ran Away”
Video: Mystery Jets – “Alas Agnes”
Video: Mystery Jets – “You Can’t Fool Me Dennis”
Video: PS I Love You – “Facelove”
MySpace: Mystery Jets

Fresh off her appearance at the MTV VMAs, Florence & The Machine have released a new video for their contribution to the latest Twilight soundtrack. Florence plays the Sound Academy on November 3.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Heavy In Your Arms”

Barry Burns of Mogwai talks to Prefix about the band’s new Special Moves/Burning live set and to Clash about working on their new album, which it was just announced would be released on SubPop when it’s done next year instead of their long-time home at Matador.

Bettie Serveert have released a video for the sort-of title track of their new record Pharmacy Of Love. They’re gearing up for their first North American tour in far too long, which includes a September 28 date at the Drake Underground.

Video: Bettie Serveert – “The Pharmacy”

And also with a new video are The Concretes, whose new record WYWH will be out November 8.

Video: The Concretes – “All Day”

Australian psychedelicists Tame Impala have assembled a North American tour that stops in at the Horseshoe on November 24. Skiddle has an interview.

MP3: Tame Impala – “Runaway, Houses, City, Clouds”

Clash has a two-part interview with Alan McGee, former head of Creation Records, on the occasion of the release of the documentary Upside Down: The Story Of Creation Records sometime around the end of the year. It goes without saying that I must see this.

Trailer: Upside Down: The Story Of Creation Records

By : Frank Yang at 8:26 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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RSS Feed for this post3 Responses.
  1. Bob says:

    The Mystery Jets’ first album was certainly more in the vein of “psychedelia”, with more than a few touches of prog, but they went more the pop/rock route with Twenty-One, and apparently have not turned back. I have my preference, but obviously a healthy crowd at the ‘shoe compared to the meager attendance at the El Mo a couple of years ago shows that they clearly know what they’re doing. Except when it comes to their visa’s I guess.

  2. Bruce says:

    Florence turned in a Machine-free performance at the MTV awards, although I’m sure they have no illusions about sharing equal billing with her — that’s one long shadow!

    Speaking of that ubiquitous Twilight soundtrack, wondering if Metric might be part of the Oscars telecast next spring…

  3. PS I Love You and Matters at The Garrison in Toronto | WAKAZ says:

    […] were going to be what people were talking about the next morning. I had seen and enjoyed them back in September, they weren’t exactly the sorts of performers who’d leave jaws on the floor with their […]