September 2nd saw the triumphant return of Derry's finest Jetplane Landing with their new album Don't Try. After 6 years of hibernation Jetplane Landing serve up one of the finest rock albums of 2013. While the album may take different elements of the bands ever evolving sound from the past, Don't Try comes up sounding fresh and current.
Formed in 1999 by Andrew Ferris (guitar/vocals) and Jamie Burchell (bass); later joined by lead guitarist, Cahir O’Doherty (Fighting With Wire). Drawing inspiration from ‘80s hardcore and associated with the British Post-Hardcore movement (see Hundred Reasons, Biffy Clyro, Million Dead, Reuben and Hell Is For Heroes) they released their debut album, 'Zero for Conduct' in 2001 and followed it up with 'Once Like a Spark' in 2003.
Regarded as a scene-defining record, ‘Once Like A Spark’ propelled the band onto even larger stages and deeper into the hearts of fans of mathy, cerebral punk rock. The band's third album, 'Backlash Cop' , incorporated funk and hip hop elements, inviting comparisons to political torch-bearers Rage Against the Machine.
With O'Doherty's Fighting With Wire colleague Craig McKean joining the band on drums for Don't Try, you find Jetplane Landing in fine form. It sounds huge, laden with big hooks and sing-a-long choruses every song is instantly likeable. In fact, I challenge you to listen to this and not love it.
The groove and dance-ability of 'Cortez & Colombus' is superb. On 4th track 'My Radio Heart' you get treated to a wonderful slab of pop rock. The riffs are meaty and pack a serious punch. After a couple of listens you'll find yourself nodding and singing along, it contains some serious energy levels.
These energy levels carry through to the snarling opening riffs and lyrics of 'Walls Of Derry', unsurprisingly it's another delectable slab of rock. 'The Lightning Bird Blinded By Moonfire' has a sumptuous bass line, couple that with the chugging guitars and damning verdict on past musical adventures you have another gem. 'Man With A Camera...' has a 'Once Like A Spark' era quality to it – snarling and heavy. Naturally there's flashes of Fighting With Wire throughout, the guitar work on 'The Trees Fill With Screaming Birds' is unmistakably O'Doherty and my word it sounds good.
Don't Try comes to an emphatic close with the stomping heavy riff monster 'Magnetic Sea'. A fine and fitting ending to a brilliant album.
As to be expected with Jetplane Landing, Don't Try doesn't sound like a carbon copy of any of it's predecessors. While being unmistakably JPL, it sounds like a band full of energy and ready to start a fresh. Superb from start to finish, it's hard to imagine a better Irish rock album this year.
Stream the full album below.
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