Anticipation can be a horrible thing; it is tantamount to torture (in some respects) and can eat away at you with the longing you have for the very thing that is out of your reach. Finally though, it is here, ‘Backlash Cop‘, the 3rd album by Irish-Anglo quartet, Jetplane Landing. Was it worth the wait? Let take a look shall we….
From the furious rush of the title track opener, through to the majestic closure of ‘Song for Sonia Sanchez‘ Jetplane Landing have created an album far removed from the softer-sound that they debuted on ‘Zero for Conduct‘ and the hard hitting rock attack of 2003’s ‘Once Like A Spark.’ Giving that the album has taken four years to make, messers, Ferris, O’Doherty and the Burchell’s have put this time to good use, experimenting with their sound heavily and pushing their creative boundaries to breaking point. With an album full of references to the Presidential campaign of Dizzy Gillespie, Minutemen frontman, D Boon, Les Savy Fav, gospel singer Sam Cooke, jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and 80’s boxers! (Not the pant kind) ‘Backlash Cop‘ is unlike any other album about at the moment.
“Feel the backlash” vocalist Andrew Ferris roars (or raps), expelling the words from his throat, ramming them down your headphones with a venomous force. The band’s anti-major attitude and established stance of being ‘mavericks‘ is only strengthened by the big “Fuck them!“Ã‚Â attitude this track delivers. A biting attack, that is only strengthened by the follow up track ‘White Music‘ which focuses on the elements of black music, referencing James Brown as well as the faceless, carbon-copy attitude of radio DJs and their anti-music stance, intimating them with the “have you ever played anything that scares you?” lyrical assault.
‘Lungs of Punk‘ demonstrates the funk-punk pathway the band has travelled down and melds nicely into standout tune, ‘Why Do They Never Play Les Savy Fav on the Radio?‘ a possible contender for track of the year, with its delightfully twee handclaps, jazz-punk chorus line and heart-warming lyrics. Tim Harrington’s mob should be flattered by such a tribute. ‘The Breaks Part 1+2‘ work as a nice interlude; showcasing the bands trademark Fugazi-esque riffage/Beastie Boys rap and thunderous breakdowns.
‘Climbing up the face of Miles Davis‘ gives nods towards the trumpet player’s drug addiction; his rise and fall, as well as saxophonist John Coltrane’s departure from the band, a possible reference to leaving and new beginnings, all held together with a powerful punk rock medley. In contrast to this, ‘Us and the Ringside Stars‘ sits in a slightly uncomfortable position as a spoken word piece; backed by a continuous drum loop, which flows nicely into the next track….
‘Hendrix Sur La Lune‘ has a touch of At the Drive-In/Blood Brothers lyrical complexity about it, especially with the line: “they put Hendrix on the moon, they put vaccines on the shelf” leaving the listener to ponder what on earth is going on; with a possible explanation being adoration for the late Jimi Hendrix, but making an observation at the guitarist’s status and the envy people felt. In many respects, if someone was to say this track was by Prince, I wouldn’t be surprised; the solo at the end is utterly fantastic; a heady rush of explosive funk rock, pushing at your senses, showing you just how far Jetplane Landing have come with their sound.
‘Song for Sonia Sanchez‘ is a truly heartfelt conclusion, an emotional piece that is basically telling the listener just how much time, energy, patience went into the creation of this album. “I gasp at the sheer joy of it” Ferris sings; never a truer word spoken, a touching end note, the band’s feelings spread out for all to see and hear.
In conclusion, ‘Backlash Cop‘ is a rich medley of sounds; it is a real joy to listen to, a quite remarkable and well-constructed rock album. It is difficult to break this album down into chunks, as it works best as one continuous piece of music, with each track flowing nicely into the next, making the experience somewhat comparable to a 36 minute long piece (Mars Volta eat your heart out!) Ferris’s white boy rap is a refreshing, invigorating touch, giving nods towards the spoken-word tirade of ‘Calculate the Risk‘ that featured on their last album, ‘Once Like A Spark.’ One of the most lyric-heavy albums I’ve come across since Refused’s ‘The Shape of Punk To Come‘; a gold mine of prose. A fine and welcomed return to the music scene, by a band that just keeps getting better and better. A near flawless piece of revolutionary music.