Similar to the finest of wines, most rock bands are generally accepted to mellow some bit with age. Thankfully, ‘Don’t Try’ proves that Jetplane Landing have managed to buck this trend. The Derry natives are still the same post-hardcore tour de force that pummelled our eardrums when they first hooked up circa the turn of the century.
We’re glad to report that the band’s indeterminate hiatus in 2007 hasn’t interrupted their momentum. This fourth full-length offering from the four-piece is a typical Jetplane juggernaut, just like those we have become accustomed to. Very much an ode to Derry, the album was their first to be conceived and recorded at home in their own Smalltown America studios and the result comes across as personal and well considered.
Though it’s pretty much brand new, the first few listens felt kind of nostalgic, as if ‘Don’t Try’ doesn’t quite seem to fit with the bulk of what’s going on in the current Irish music climate. Then again, having been a unit for nigh on 15 years, Jetplane Landing have a rock solid sense of self, and as we’re sure their well established cult following will agree, the zeitgeist matters to them not a jot.
Cheapskate Tricks for Worn Down People is a worthy album opener, bursting to life with its raucous grind. Beat Generation… Ha! is equally boisterous but its instant chorus of “Hey maggots, get off our turf” proves it to be brain glue and an album highlight for good measure.
The tracks on ‘Don’t Try’ are mostly short bursts of chaotic tumult and it feels like at times the album suffers by being short on more melodic pop hooks that we know they’re awesome at – think the almost Pavement-esque Summer Ending from their impressive debut record, ‘Zero for Conduct’.
One track that cannot be accused of this is My Radio Heart which oozes sing-along-ability. Rather aptly, it’s making airwaves for the band across Britain and Ireland by being featured on radio playlists including on BBC Radio 1. Then it’s back to business as usual with Walls of Derry 2, an homage to their hometown and a satisfyingly abrasive assault on the senses.
Thematically, though the album seems consistently hacked off, it manages to remain a fairly light listen for the most part until the album closer. Magnetic Sea 2 resonates with more of a melancholic vibe than the rest of the album and ventures further into metal territory that the rest of the album.
‘Don’t Try’ delivers honest, straight up post-hardcore, devoid of pretenses and it does so in spades. Welcome back, Jetplane Landing. Promise you won’t make it so long next time?