Friday, Nov. 3, 2006
When multi-generational British band Mystery Jets walked on stage at Fuji Rock Festival this year for their first Japanese show, it was to a packed Red Marquee chanting "Zootime," the title of the band's 2005 debut single. When they followed the festival with a soldout performance at Tokyo's Liquid Room -- complete with fans offering immaculate, handmade Mystery Jets patches as gifts -- promoter Smash was naturally keen to book the band for a full tour pronto.
Despite the recent buzz, the band's history is beautifully organic. Back in 1994, 8-year-old Blaine Harrison would muck about with his dad, Henry, and guitar-toting friend William Rees. Blaine, now 20, suffers from spina bifida, and has relied on crutches all his life. Music was an outlet that Henry was keen to encourage -- especially as Dad had always wanted to play in a band himself. Over the years, the trio evolved into a five-piece, with Blaine moving from drums to vocals and assorted percussion and Henry dropping the bass and grabbing a guitar and keyboard. Kai Fish (bass) and Kapil Trivedi (drums) complete the set.
The band's quirky tunes won them a committed fan base and a deal with British indie-label Transgressive, releasing limited edition 7-inch single "Zootime" to acclaim in February 2005. Pinched by 679 Recordings to record debut "Making Dens" in March 2006, the album displays an unconventional sound that distills Dexys Midnight Runners, Syd Barrett and prog-rock into something new. Fortunately, their live shows recreate the songs with aplomb.
Mystery Jets play Shinsaibashi Club Quattro, Osaka, on Nov. 4 (6,000 yen, tel.  6535-5569) and Shibuya Club Quattro on Nov. 5 and 6 (6,000 yen, tel.  3444-6751).