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Jet Johnson | Micropolitan (Seriously Groovy)
The continually morphing Jet Johnson have settled on a trio line-up to record their debut full-length, singer Caroline Nesbø now handling bass duties where Econoline's Ian Scanlon once stood. Guitarist Gavin Baker and drummer Kevin Smith continue to solidify an alliance that sees them moonlight in Baker's Meets Guitar project.
'Micropolitan' is the most realised and impressive entry in a discography that includes a wealth of appearances on singles, compilations and the mini-album 'Tula'. Here the key elements gel into a seductive brew, Nesbø's engaging lilt drawing the listener in from the outset on November, a long-distance love letter imbued with longing. "I wish I was sleeping through all the days that you're away," she pines over a steadily building backdrop. The title track, a gloomy meditation on London, where "everything is wrong," is followed by recent single, the almost incongruously buoyant Donnie, a heartfelt ode to '70s superstar Osmond. Sandwiched between this and the harder but similarly infectious Something Impossible lies another of the album's standouts, the elegant and atmospheric Ring, built around a simple, brooding guitar figure and a funereal pace, a mournful harmonica gently piercing the gloom. The wintery mood prevails on the delicate acoustic lament, What's With Your Heart and, predictably, on the likes of Seven Winters and Death Song, but what keeps 'Micropolitan' from sinking into a quagmire of affected doom and gloom is a resistance to repetition, the consistently inventive and cliché-resistant musicianship, and a lightness of touch as threatening as snowfall.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003