Bobcat Goldthwait made a hilarious and accurate observation about rocker Huey Lewis. He said that when you see Lewis, you don’t think, ‘hey, that’s a famous rock and roll star,’ you think instead, ‘hey, is that a friend of my dad’s?’ The only thing possibly as uncool as listening to someone the same age as your own father is playing in a band with your pops, right? Not so say the Mystery Jets, a five piece pop band from Twickenham, England. Lead vocalist Blaine Harrison is the young son of lead guitarist Henry Harrison, and the pair couldn’t be cooler.
The opening track of their debut album, Making Dens is a single they released twice, with the second release yielding a higher chart position! “You Can’t Fool Me Dennis” begins with the mantra, “you can do anything you want as long as it makes sense.” It’s not exactly ‘all you need is love’ or ‘imagine all the people living life in peace,’ but it’s sung with such innocent conviction by Harrison, the younger, that it can be forgiven, and even embraced. It must not be too serious, because after all, what father leaves a 15-year tenure with an architectural firm to join a rock band with his son and his friends? Did that make sense? I suppose that’s a question only answered by the fact that the Mystery Jets are now an indie band du jour and their debut album cracked the UK Top 40.
It’s difficult to pigeonhole the sound of the Jets. There’s a bit of guitar angularity, some Britpop, post punk, fuzz-folk and even prog. “The Boy Who Ran Away,” another single from the album, has Blaine sounding like a combination of Brandon Flowers, Julian Casablancas and Damian Kulash. “Zoo Time” is all over the map, an experimental / prog song that acts, I’m sure, as a tribute to the bands of Henry’s youth. The song was an odd choice for their first single considering the strength of some of their more accessible work, including “Alas Agnes,” their fourth `Killers meets the Kinks by way of the Strokes and Queen’ single, and the first to reach the Top 40. I suppose that the band was initially trying to be more prog-leaning, and just couldn’t let go of the song by the time the album was released, some thirteen months later.
`You can do anything you want as long as it makes sense.’ I still can’t get over that line, mostly because of the unlikely pairing of father and son in a rock band. I suppose if there can be father and son Nobel Prize winners (the Kornbergs), award-winning novelists (the Amises), baseball legends (Griffeys, Alous, Boones, etc.) and film stars (too many to mention), then I suppose an indie rock band shouldn’t be too far behind. But of the above listed people, only one pair actually worked together, that being the Griffeys. Maybe what they’re trying to say is that anything makes sense as long as it makes sense to you personally. We may not get the idea of a parental being in a rock band, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to call my pops and see if he wants to write a comic book with me.