The problem with youthful bands is that they grow up. Lyrics shift from optimistic exuberance and young love toward bitterness and broken relationships in an effort to become more mature. We witnessed this phenomenon earlier this year with Los Campesinos!, but Mystery Jets look to avoid falling into the same trap with Serotonin. The album’s tone is both wistful and whimsical, though it would have benefited from at least some of  crunch heard on tracks like ‘Hideaway’ or ‘Half in Love with Elizabeth’ from their 2008 release Twenty One. Though a bit less rocking and a little floatier than its predecessor, Serotonin generally maintains the poppy British sound the band is known for.

Serotonin is, of course, a neurotransmitter often connected with feelings of bliss. Whether that feeling of bliss is of natural or medicated origin isn’t answered, but it suits the band’s newfound love of synthesizers, as seen in the opening of ‘Too Late to Talk’. An increased feeling of nostalgia and longing is pervasive throughout the album, though it never becomes overwhelming, and Mystery Jets’ charm continues to shine through. In fact, these moody moments help balance out the songs that are almost too cheery, like the whistle and kazoo filled ‘Flash a Hungry Smile’. Despite diving too far into the twee pool with that song, the band quickly follows with the title track, which is just a pop gem.

While the presence of Laura Marling, who provided guest vocals on previous single ‘Young Love’, is missed, Serotonin should fulfill your requirements for youthful British rock music, though it could have used that extra kick.

Mystery Jets – Too Late to Talk
Mystery Jets – Serotonin

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— , July 22, 2010    1 Comment

This year’s mixtape is ready for you to download. The two disc set is packed with 2008 favourites from all of our writers.

Download: The Ca Va Cool Mixtape 2008 – Disc 1

01. She & Him – Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
02. Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor
03. Chad VanGaalen – TMNT Mask
04. Bloc Party – Signs
05. Mystery Jets – Young Love feat. Laura Marling
06. TV on the Radio – Family Tree
07. DeVotchKa – Transliterator
08. Wilco w/ Fleet Foxes – I Shall Be Released
09. Wolf Parade – Soldier’s Grin
10. M83 – Graveyard Girl
11. Albert Hammond, Jr. – GfC
12. Vampire Weekend – Walcott
13. Brendan Canning – Churches Under the Stairs
14. Cut Copy – Lights and Music
15. Los Campesinos! – This Is How You Spell…

Download: The Ca Va Cool Mixtape 2008 – Disc 2

01. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
02. Passion Pit – Sleepyhead
03. Born Ruffians – Little Garçon
04. The Clips – Space Kidz
05. The Radio Dept. – Freddie and the Trojan Horse
06. Bon Iver – Re: Stacks
07. Lykke Li – Dance Dance Dance
08. Portishead – Machine Gun
09. No Age – Eraser
10. Plants and Animals – New Kind of Love
11. Bodies of Water – Gold, Tan, Peach, and Grey
12. Fleet Foxes – Oliver James
13. Deerhunter – Never Stops
14. Santogold – Creator
15. Beast – Ashtray

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— , December 24, 2008    4 Comments

Wild Beasts

At the end of each year I delight in reading a ton of “best albums of the year” lists on blogs and in magazines to find everything that I’ve missed over the year. I think I listened to quite a bit over the last 11 and a half months, so I’ve decided to publish my own best of 2008 this time around. It was a hard to choose, but I finally got it down to 20.

20 | Wild Beasts – Limbo, Panto

I’m starting off my top 20 list with some fauve British guitars. I’ve been following Wild Beasts from their early EPs and singles and what’s great is that they didn’t lose their raw sound on their debut album, Limbo, Panto. Angular guitars, falsetto vocals, and unconventional percussion make this a weird but rewarding listen. Matisse would be proud.

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— , December 16, 2008    10 Comments

Born Ruffians

The year’s not over yet, but now is as good a time as any to look back on the past 12 11 months of music and highlight the stuff that shone the brightest for me this year. After a huge star-power filled 2007 that brought out releases from some of my favourite bands like Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Spoon, and Interpol, 2008 was largely a blank slate for me. Outside of the new Death Cab for Cutie album, I wasn’t particularly anticipating anything, so the void was filled with a variety of releases from bands both new and old I discovered throughout the year. Mind you, I’ve likely missed out on a lot so far, so consider this list fairly fluid. Without further ado, the best of what I’ve heard in ’08.

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— , December 2, 2008    4 Comments

Laura Marling

A friend of mine suggested I listen to the new Mystery Jets album, so I checked out the single ‘Young Love’. It’s fun Britpop, but it didn’t really hit me until Laura Marling started singing.

I think I’m in love. Intrigued, I immediately sought out her album Alas, I Cannot Swim and, expecting more bouncy pop music, found some of the best folk music I’ve heard in some time. I was also surprised to learn she’s only eighteen. Beautiful and haunting, Ghosts is a song I’m going to be listening to for some time.

Laura Marling – Ghosts

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— , March 24, 2008    5 Comments