Jet's debut album Get Born was released in 2003. A worldwide smash, it sold over 3.5 million copies, and earned the band a mantle of awards (including Best Rock video at the 2003 MTV Awards). Critics lauded the band's raw power, comparing them to their musical heroes: AC/DC, Kinks, Faces, Rolling Stones (with whom the band toured in Australia). NME announced simply: "Jet are destined to be planet-sized". Rolling Stone enthused "Jet are a band that lives, dies and drinks to Exile On Main Street". Blender called Get Born "streamlined gonzo-rock". You get the picture.
Suffice to say, Get Born is still selling, the point being that whilst their retro-rock peers recycled the past, Jet breathed new life into it. Songs like 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl', Cold Hard Bitch', and 'Look What You've Done' simply don't come to you unless you've done five years - as Nic Cester had - driving a forklift truck in a Melbourne spice factory.
After two and a half years on the road touring 'Get Born', the time finally came for the band to think about what kind of album they wanted to make next. And it was hard - to say the least. During their never -ending world tour (which saw them sharing stages with long time heroes The Rolling Stones and Oasis), Nic and Chris had to come to terms with the death of their father. "It was f--king horrible," says the ever-candid Nic Cester of the arduous time the band spent writing and recording their hotly anticipated second album, Shine On. "It was like trudging through mud up to your knees." Brother Chris concurs: "There were times when I didn't think we were gonna make it. It was hard to cope with. Dealing with that isn't something you can learn from a textbook. By the time I got back to LA I felt like I'd barely got a foot in the world."
Having scattered to the four corners of the world when touring commitments were up, the brothers realised that only through music would they fully exorcise their demons. Accordingly, Jet set about getting back to the roots rock 'n' roll that has always obsessed them: Delta blues, British hard-rock and the swampy surrealism of Captain Beefheart and Dr John. Returning to LA, to work once again with producer Dave Sardy, the man behind the controls for Get Born, the band got down to business. "Fashion has taken over a bit whilst we've been away" explains Nic. "It seems like it's even more important to have a cool haircut. We took ourselves away from all that and concentrated on the music".
Ultimately, the band's tribulations became the album's inspiration. Shine On (the title is a tribute to Nic and Chris' departed dad) is a dazzling departure for Jet. For the band's long-standing fans, the 15-track album is still loaded with lots of swigging and swaggering rock-n-roll. But Shine On also sheds new light on the band, with plenty of polished melodies and unexpected gems. The album kicks off with "L'esprit D'escalier" ("Spirit of the Stairwell" in French), a 20-second amuse bouche that echoes the chorus of the album's last track, "All You Have To Do." "It's about as close as we can get to making a concept album - without being total wankers," jokes Muncey.
From the Curtis Mayfield-infused shuffle of first single 'Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is' to the Grand Funk Railroad influenced roar of 'Stand Up' via the punk rock boogie of 'That's All Lies' and Everly Brothers inspired harmonies of 'Eleanor', it's Jet showing both their range and, once again, proving that, if you dig deep enough, triumph can come from adversity. Title track 'Shine On' is a touching paean to the Cester's late father, a stadium ready ballad and a fitting tribute.
"Everything you do is indicative of where you're at," says Nic. "On this album, things changed. Where we were at before was a bunch of pissed-off kids with shit jobs... Now things are different. Songs were written, friendships were tested, bad things happened. Shine On reflects our dealing with all that... and coming out the other side."
Not that Jet are about to get too emotional on us. "The first album was written for pubs," grins Chris, eager to bring things down to earth. "This one is written for stadiums!"