It’s tempting to write off the Mystery Jets as a band still riding the ever diminishing wave of success from their initial – admittedly rather good – attempt at breaking into the ears of the ever fickle “indie landfill” generation. Sadly you’d probably be right in indulging in such pigeonholing, as Wednesday night’s performance at The Bullingdon proved. Despite arriving too late to catch the supporting acts, the back room seemed undercrowded for a sold-out show, due mainly to the lack of excitement or enthusiasm to get anywhere near the band. It’s a shame really, because beneath the floppy hair and desire to seem both retrospectively relevant and to cling on to the remnants of their dissipating fan base lies a band that is not without considerable musical talent, who convey several positive aspects of their confident songwriting ability in their live show. That’s just it, though – the confidence only applies to the material which won them fans; never has such a large quantity of new material been delivered and received so unenthusiastically by band and fan alike. It’s as if to say “we all know you’re just here for those handful of standout songs, but you’ve paid for your 80 minutes so we’re going to play the same fuzzy chord sequence six or seven times”.
For a band that once talked of reviving the 80s and of world domination, the lack of confidence on the new album was astonishing, reaching the point where lead singer Blaine Harrison apologised for technical issues that replaced old favourites with recent songs. Despite this, there were hints of brilliance in the performance, especially with ‘Two Doors Down’, ‘Young Love’ and opener ‘Half In Love With Elizabeth’. It’s testimony to the staying power of these songs that they were met with universal enjoyment and crowd participation, but this rapidly faded between hits, ultimately leaving everyone with contented but slightly bemused expressions. It’s impossible not to doubt the future success of a band that’s less excited about the release of their new album than the pubescent population is about Lana Del Rey. Let’s just hope her artistic demise is less painfully drawn out.