The plastic Ashtray Review 'Backlash Cop'
It’s been four years since Jetplane Landing released their last album, ‘Once Like A Spark’. The first time I heard this I immediately loved it, however I’m embarrassed to admit that in the last couple of years I’ve somewhat inadvertently forgot about Jetplane Landing. However upon listening to 'Backlash Cop', I doubt there is any way in which I could forget about them in quite the same way. It has been described by the band themselves as ‘a soul/funk concept album played by four white blokes.’
And frankly there is no better way to put it. Jetplane Landing have managed to retain their original influences while encorporating artists such as James Brown, Parliament and Jimi Hendrix to create a soul/funk/punk extravaganza. That’s the real key to the album, it's definitely a departure from the previous two albums however there's no reason not to love it, everything I previously enjoyed about the band is here but with a new twist running throughout. It’s a bold new direction, but also an extremely clever one which easily pays off.
The album kicks off with the sound of police sirens and you may have been fooled into thinking this was a N.W.A. song until the distinctive guitar work comes into the fold. However there are still elements of hip-hop running throughout which certainly shows this album isn't going to be the same as its predecessors. "White Music" continues the momentum of the album perfectly and its change in pace a minute into the song, is of particular interest. Next up is "Dizzy Gillespie For President", a song which is impossible to dislike as a result of its funky backbeat matched up with its pomp riff and Billy Corgan-esque solo.
"Why Do They Never Play Les Savy Fav On The Radio?" is the instant standout and would make a fantastic single, Its fun, lively and delightfully catchy. However it still fits in seamlessly with the concept of the album. "Sam Cooke" is also charming, its definitely subtle and wouldn’t be out of place on ‘Zero For Conduct’ and this is the perfect example of how the band has evolved whilst still retaining the strengths of their earlier work. I'm not sure if I quite fully understand "Us And The Ringside Stars", a monologue based on the four boxers: Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Durán, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler. However it works as a great interlude on the album before things continue into "Hendrix Sur La Lune". Finally "Song For Sonia Sanchez" is the perfect finale to the album. Its subtle melody captures everything which is great about Jetplane Landing.
Perhaps the one criticism of 'Backlash Cop' is that it is perhaps not immediately enjoyable, however it is instantly interesting and with repeated listening it certainly becomes entertaining. However I’m probably just being pedantic as there isn’t really that much to criticise. The drum-work is sublime and it complements the guitar and vocals perfectly. Jetplane Landing have managed song structures which wouldn’t have seemed possible on previous albums and this has to be applauded. 'Backlash Cop' is a bold step in a great new direction and we can only hope that they will surprise us many times more in the future.
- Sam Manning, The Plastic Ashtray
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