The Australian band Jet rocketed on to the charts in 2003 and reminded us what no-frills rock n’ roll used to sound like. Rhino Records has just issued the band’s debut album, Get Born, in a Deluxe Edition, featuring remastered sound and a second disc of bonus material.
The band’s leadoff single, the hard charging “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” became a surprise Top 30 hit, sounding gleefully out of place next to Beyonce and 50 Cent. The album’s second single, “Cold Hard Bitch,” with the bass guitar way up front, recalled vintage AC/DC.
Despite the fact that those two singles off the album were heavy rockers, Get Born has a lot more diversity than you might think. “Look What You’ve Done” is a very Lennon-esque piano ballad, while the acoustic and slide guitar on “Move On” is reminiscent of Sticky Fingers-era Rolling Stones. The countryfied “Come Around Again,” with Hammond organ and harmonies, could pass for Son Volt, while the hand-clapper “Lazy Gun” sounds like early-Seventies’ glam, like Slade.
While much of what came out in the early 2000’s now sounds dated, Get Born still jumps out of the speakers, thanks to producer D. Sardy, who pushes the volume knobs to eleven. The guitars crunch, the snare cracks, making this the rare album from this time period that still sounds good cranked on the car stereo.
But, none of that would matter if the songs weren’t there. And, they’re definitely there – from the ferocious album opener “Last Chance,” to the ironic, Oasis nod “Radio Song,” with the “this won’t be played on your radio / tonight” lyric. Yet it lacks the pretension that usually goes with this type of a song.
There’s quite a few nuggets on the bonus disc as well. The excellent b-side “Sgt. Major” is so good, you wonder how it was left off the original album. “Bruises” brings to mind early Seventies Kinks, while a live take of “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” reinforces how important the production was on the band’s sound. “Cigarettes & Cola” sounds like a Keith Richards outtake.
Get Born should’ve ushered in an entire wave of back-to-basics rock n’ roll. Instead, it stands as one of the last great guitar rock albums of the last 20 years. —Tony Peters