Four years on from their last album Mystery Jets release their sixth album A Billion Heartbeats. It was due to be released in 2019 but was put on hold as vocalist Blaine Harrison underwent emergency surgery for a severe infection. With several songs already out as singles, the full album is now set for release on April 3rd 2020.
This ten-track album opens with a bang. Screwdriver kicks in with an electronic sound followed by the bass and drums punching behind. Vocalist Harrison says the song is about conflict, beliefs and unwilling to accept one another’s place in society. This song has a huge anthem sound to it making it perfect for the opener on the album.
We then kick into Pretty Drone, again another great song musically and vocally. The difference in sound between the verse and chorus is so strong that it automatically hooks you in and puts a smile on your face. The airiness of the lyrics and melody for the chorus really are quite beautiful and the heavy bass link cuts in near the end for one big ending. History Has Its Eyes On You, is simple and beautiful and caps off an opening trio of songs which sit perfectly together on this album.
From this point on the album feels to get a little lost. A Billion Heartbeats, Hospital Radio and Cenotaph are all overly busy with melodies not as strong as the opening tracks. With so much going on in the mix things become blurred and the songs suffer as a result.
Campfire Song, Watching Yourself Disappear and Wrong Side Of The Tracks are the last three songs from the album and are completely different sounding to the others. These songs are more soft pop, both sounding and lyrically. Although three decent songs with nice bass lines and harmonies it certainly doesn’t give you the end punch you’d expect from an album that started so strongly.
Endless City stands out from the other tracks on the album. This song is led by vocals with are soft sounds playing lightly in the background like a heartbeat and water falling. It’s perfectly formed and almost has a Vampire Weekend / Arctic Monkeys feel about it, asking to be played on repeat.
With three very different parts, A Billion Heartbeats feels disjointed. Its opening tracks are strong but Mystery Jets seem to get a little lost after that, and overcomplicating mixes and structures make it a challenge to get from start to finish in one listen.