Adventures of Jet, Muscle (Suburban Home)

Pressed to name my favorite record of the year so far, I would name The Adventures of Jet’s Muscle. A three piece from Dallas, TX, the Adventures of Jet sprung from the ashes of Bobgoblin, a band about which I know nothing.

Relying heavily on 70s synths, the songs are a bold mix of chugging rhythms and sneekily catchy melodies. On first listen, Hop Litzwire’s voice is a tad hard to adjust to — nasally and often singing lines along with his synth, it is initially off-putting. But the more time you allow the glossy synths and tight rhythms to drill into your brain, the better it gets. Every song is packed with catchy lyrics and lines but nothing that resembles “hey ho, let’s go” choruses.

The way “Flaming Ghost” moves into its chorus with a simple stretched out vocal line followed by a throbbing four beats distances the verse and chorus and offers another part of the song to wind around your brain. It’s simple but cleverer than abruptly slamming into the chorus. When the last chorus comes around with a throbbing eight beats, it’s hard to resist the temptation to raise your fist in the air and pound along with the beat.

Muscle is a concept album about muscle cars — which may seem odd in context with music that sounds like a meeting of the minds between Rush and Weezer rather than hesher metal — but the sound works for the songs. The slick synth resembles the polished sheen on the car of a fanatic and the drums and guitars fire tightly like its highly tuned engine.

Perhaps strangely, the lyrics, while dealing with drag racing, hotrods, and mechanics, touch on the same themes of all great pop songs. There’s the joy of “Run Charger” — “With this roar and fire / the RPMs go higher and / We could care no more / as if the world wasn’t keeping score.” The defiance of “Drag” — “I don’t wanna drag tonight / No I’m not in the mood for a fight.” The loss of “Home Where I Always Lose.” And the romance of “Fairlane” — “I was just about to break away / and then she got a Fairlane.”

This record is a treasure trove of cool sounds, infectious hooks and just plain awesome lyrics. Anyone who pledges allegiance to pop’s enduring power to bring joy should pick this up for the proof that pop’s subject matter isn’t limited to girl/boy problems.