Like a fading sequel to a blockbuster, the Jets’ Four Cornered Night proved to be a departure from what firmly placed them on the indie rock map. Boasting a more diverse musical approach, it balanced the chaotic, indescribable fervor of Orange Rhyming Dictionary with a more sensible, unambiguous tone. While it proved to be a musical step forward, it lacked the originality and personality their debut effort showcased. Thus, acting like a more sound, but lacking sequel. And like most, what follows is most likely to define whether or not a franchise (or on this case a musical endeavor) will stand the test of longevity and creative success.
The Jets return to release their third Jade Tree effort Perfecting Loneliness. It is an earnest attempt not to recapture the certain flavor of the first record, but to continue developing and building that JTB sound. With it we see some qualities reminiscent of tracks like “Resistance is Futile” (from Orange Rhyming Dictionary) in “Perfecting Loneliness” (the track, not the album) and the more piano savvy tunes akin to their second full length – like “Cat Heaven” and the 9 minute saga “Rocket Boy”. Some tracks rely more on pop induced melodies (the flighty, soothing “Wish List”) while others tend to fall back on an acoustic driven backdrop (the beautiful “Further North”).
In defining the album in its entirety, one can say that Perfecting Loneliness can be found somewhere in between Orange Rhyming Dictionary and Four Cornered Night. It however, is not their defining record – some might say, they’ve already written their defining record (‘ORD’) – and if they have, it leaves a pretty good plateau in which Blake Schwarzenbach and company are perched upon. Perfecting Loneliness is an intricate, yet simplistic record – a perfect accompaniment to their two previous efforts. Without doubt, one of the year’s most pleasant releases.
(Jade Tree Records)