Slow Jets: Remain in Ether
The Slow Jets continue planting their own idiosyncratic stamp on so-called indie rock with this third outing, and once again the trio offers tightly penned tunes that allow you to rediscover the voluminous worlds that can be found in the straightforward song. Songwriter Greg Preston is approaching Andy Partridge levels of words-and-guitar alchemy, draping his offbeat lyrics off the beats of his intricate melodies, his voice’s nasal expanse hovering over his six string’s road-map lines. And Ether is also the Jets’ most polished and polyphonic outing yet: “Country Under Canada” unfolds like a nearly seven-minute anti-xenophobic mini-symphony, “Marching Into the Ground” comes charging out of an electronic tone ocean, and “Piano Needs Hands” plinks along on a low-tech drumbeat. But the Jets’ wheelhouse remains their guitar-bass-drum axis—dig “Move While the Door Is Open,” “Ether Remains,” “Dreams Come Out,” and the blithely infectious “Famous Flaws of King Ubu”—with Marc Berrong’s doing-more-with-less stick work and Tim Baier’s minimal yet vaguely funky four-string strolls containing Preston’s guitar/vox multiple personalities without restraining them. Ether doesn’t rewrite any indie-rock rule book, but that’s only because the Slow Jets working inside the lines betters most who believe breaking rules makes them interesting.