Sound: Shaka Rock is the third studio album by Aussie rock outfit Jet. It was released here in Australia on the 21st of August, 2009.
The band have been in the studio since 2008 working on the album. After touring was completed for their previous album, Shine On, the band took a short break. Before getting straight back into recording the album.
Upon listening to the album it become clear that it is following on from their first two albums, debut Get Born and Shine On. Personally, I like to think of this album as sitting in between Get Born and Shine On in terms of style and sound. It gives off a strong hard rock vibe, as expected and will certainly not disappoint fans who have awaited another hard rock release. However, in some places it holds more of a modern feel as opposed to the booze-soaked riffery and gruff tones of Get Born. On the other hand, it does away with many of the ballad-style acoustic songs that became the focus of Shine On. It could be said that Jet have tried to find a middle ground on this album.
Unusually, Shaka Rock also features synths and drum n' bass style songs, with 'Beat on Repeat' immediately springing to mind. This again, is testament to Jet's endeavours to achieve a more diverse and modern sound - some may see this as being for better or for worse.
Unsuprisingly this album, despite its musical diversions such as the aforementioned synth sampling, retains Jet's signature good ol' classic rock tone, with obvious influence from AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rose Tattoo, The Angels and so on.
Now I know that there are many people out there who don't like Jet, whether they be Pitchfork Media or ageing audiophiles who dote over their prized record collection and find that Jet are merely impersonators to the greats and are too brash, or whatever. I in no way say that Jet are not taking more than a leaf out of many band's books, but that is part of their appeal. They are great fun to listen to - they're not trying to be a groundbreaking band. All that I can say is that the sound will certainly not disappoint Jet fans. // 9
Lyrics: 01.K.I.A. (Killed In Action): this song is a great opener to the album and sets the scene for the remainder. From the moment that the rumbling bass line started up a smile spread upon my face. Nic Cester's gruff voice lends support to the songs loose sound and subtle aggression. From the opening line, "I live in the middle of a combat zone," to the rolling drum lines the song provides a solid opener to the album. 4/5.
02.Beat On Repeat: as earlier mentioned 'Beat on Repeat' is a drum n' bass heavy song with somewhat of a dance rock vibe, similar to the sound of Australian band Van She. Lyrically the song is nothing special, however the vocals are interesting with lead vocals being shared between brothers Chris and Nic Cester. 3.5/5.
03.She's A Genius: this is the first single off the album with solid lyrics and a good vocal performance. The song itself was obviously deemed to be the most commercially appealing from the album, so it comes as no surprise that the song delves deeply back into Jet's roots. Enjoyable. 4/5.
04.Black Hearts (On Fire): this song is strong both lyrically and vocally and has a certain appeal to it that drew me to it. It is another typical chorus based, cymbal and tom laden Jet song that became their signature since their debut. 4/5.
05.Seventeen: this is, in my opinion, one of three of the strongest songs on the album and is certainly up there with my favourite Jet songs. Nic's vocals are quite refined on this song, with a very clean sound that lend to the lyrics. The riffs and instrumental elements of the song all blend together to create one of the best moments of the album. 5/5.
06.La Di Da: this song is good, although it lacks any distinctive hooks or phrases that draw in the listener and that stick in your mind. Regardless, this is a good song but somewhat pales in comparison to the song preceding it. 4/5.
07.Goodbye Hollywood: this song can be seen as Jet's tribute to the album Sticky Fingers. Jet unleash their inner Rolling Stone with a song that closely emulates the Stone's murky, classic rock with blues influence that became their trademark throughout their career. The song itself is certainly a strong point of the album and is highly enjoyable. 5/5.
08.Walk: I don't really have much to say about this song, it's good but not really very distinctive. 3.5/5.
09.Times Like This: I thoroughly enjoyed this song. Lyrically and vocally it was a standout, but I have vowed to limit my choices for standout tracks to 3, but this is certainly also one of my favourites. The instruments and syncopated guitar lend to the anthemic style of this song. 5/5.
10.Let Me Out: this song seems like Jet are trying a bit too hard. I just couldn't really get into this song and did not particularly enjoy it. 3/5.
11.Start The Show: as the name may indicate this is an all out rocker with good riffs and a good amount of aggressive vocals. 4/5.
12.She Holds A Grudge: this song is simply put, brilliant. I always seem to like the last songs on Jet albums, which are always the ending ballads, with 'Timothy' and 'Eleanor' being some of my favourite songs off Get Born and Shine On respectively. She Holds a Grudge is a great song with the lyrics being the epitome of the album. It may well be one of my favourite Jet songs let alone favourite on the album. 5/5. // 8
Overall Impression: This album is typical Jet. Despite those who claim they are merely copy-cats it is hard not to like their classic and hard rock charms. They are not trying to be groundbreaking, they are a retro band. It seems that the sooner people start realising that the better.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the album, hence the reason I bought it on the day it came out. Jet was one of my first musical obsessions when I was 8 and their debut album came out.
Jet are not by any means my favourite band (Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones all tie for that spot), but I thoroughly enjoy them.
The standout tracks of this album are 'Seventeen', 'Goodbye Hollywood' and 'She Holds a Grudge'.
If it were lost or stolen I would survive off listening to the songs on my MP3 and computer until the album became cheaper and then would have no hesitation in buying it again so I could blast it out from my stereo.
I would recommend this album certainly to Jet fans but even to people who want to get into the band or haven't really listened to Jet before, as it is a good starting point.
Whether you enjoy the album or not comes down to your interpretations. // 10