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Album review: Jet's 'Shaka Rock'

August 24, 2009 |  6:21 pm
Jet_shaka_rock_240_ Pop and rap singles are regularly praised as gleeful, idiotic summer fun, but rock has a harder time getting taken seriously for being as dumb as a post. Maybe it's still a post-Beatles expectation of guitar music as art, or a lingering hangover from Limp Bizkit's chart reign. In either case, Australian quartet Jet has long been a pincushion for rock fans for whom seriousness reigns, and a knuckle-dragging take on the MC5's stoned garage-rock is beneath contempt.

Maybe Jet took those jabs to heart. On its latest album "Shaka Rock," the band tries on a bit more space and texture, which makes for both a more rewarding listen and less of a conversation piece. "Beat on Repeat" belatedly enters the disco revival with a surprisingly adept Blondie-ish floor-filler, and the group tries on the Skoal-ringed jeans of Molly Hatchet on "Black Hearts (on Fire)." With "Seventeen," Kings of Leon finally has real competition in codpiece-rock lechery circles.

By and large, "Shaka Rock" is an unmistakable and confident move toward respectability for Jet. But it does make you wonder why it's so rough for a band to be young, dumb and full of bad come-ons.

-- August Brown

"Shaka Rock"
Two stars