The English indie rock band Mystery Jets recently released their fifth album, “Curve of the Earth,” a brutally poignant work in both melody and lyrics. Mystery Jets was formed by Henry Harrison, Blaine Harrison and William Rees—a combination of father, son and friend who formed the band when Blaine was just 12. Mystery Jets creates music that certainly does not lack in intensity and deeply metaphorical, and often angst-ridden, lyrics.
Curve of Earth opens with the song “Telomere,” which begins with a steady guitar staccato and long, drawn out vocals by Blaine Harrison. The song appears to continuously build in intensity until reaching a partial catharsis, before the melody begins again. The vocals exercise significant restraint, gradually powering up as the instruments crescendo, until reaching the phrase “in the telomere,” which is dragged out. The entirety of the vocals adheres to the template, creating a sort of predictability within the song as well as a sense of relief when Harrison proceeds to the second chorus. The lyrics themselves read as a kind of haunting poem about a lover and this concept of a telomere. Scientifically, the telomere acts as a cap to the end of each strand of DNA to protect the chromosomes. In the song, the telomere is a symbol of an unyielding permanence and protection of the past.
In contrast to “Telomere”’s atmospheric, mysterious and tumultuous hold on the listener, later songs such as “Bubblegum” and “Bombay Blue” possess a rhythmic, nostalgic quality. They are catchier, something one might listen to while multi-tasking. “Taken By The Tide” exudes a calming, gentle guitar opening that evolves into a melancholic, nostalgic and passionate vocals. The song parallels the progression of a beach tide that transforms into a raging wave, focusing on the fear of losing stability and being consumed by the metaphorical tide representing society, the past and the world.
“Curve of the Earth” is at its core about the individual moving on, grappling with the isolation of society and binding memories of the past. The curve of the earth is blurred and ambiguous, a grey area. Growing up is less of an irrevocable transition than it is a constantly wavering and muddled collection of experiences. Mystery Jets does not provide an answer to the mystery of escapism and growing up, but rather a retrospective look into the self and a constant questioning of the past.