Album Review

Jet, 'Shaka Rock'

August 31, 2009

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Jet Shaka Rock
Real Horrorshow/Emi
ESSENTIAL “She’s a Genius’’

Nic Cester was blessed with the kind of voice that maintains a constant edge of desperation. It’s the sound of a perennial teenage boy always on the prowl and slightly worried about it. That brawny bark works perfectly for Jet’s best songs, the ones - to paraphrase Madonna - that are about ladies with an attitude and fellas that are in the mood. The Aussie rockers’ third album has a few of those songs, including current single “She’s a Genius.’’ With its rubberband riff, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh chorus, and lyrics like “Love is when you want a kiss and you get bit,’’ it’s classic Jet. It mashes up the heat and raunch of all their idols - AC/DC, the Stones, Cheap Trick - into one memorable track. “Beat on Repeat,’’ a slouchy disco amble, and the strummy, INXS-ish “Black Hearts (On Fire)’’ - the perfect soundtrack to the haughty runway strut of a model - are also keepers. The rest of the album is solid but less immediate. It also lacks a truly strong ballad, although closer “She Holds a Grudge’’ has an alluringly hazy quality. There are a couple of clunkers, including the chaotic, love-is-war opener, “K.I.A. (Killed in Action).’’ While not as full-throttle arresting as the band’s previous two albums, as a placeholder, “Shaka’’ certainly rocks. (Out now) SARAH RODMAN