Jetpack On! (their punctuation – although I would imagine that anytime a jetpack is involved, there is some sense of urgency) is a three-piece band from Michigan that nicely straddles indie, powerpop and straight-ahead rock and roll. Guitars rock, vocals are solid, and there’s a conscious effort to avoid padding in the arrangements – a welcome change from a lot of young bands seeking to set themselves apart from the pack.
Leadoff cut “Best I Can” is punchy with an infectious chorus, sounding like Snow Patrol asked The Edge to sit in on guitar – and it’s even better than that sounds. There are a myriad of “sounds like” moments here, from the above referenced U2 in “Come On Stack It Up” to such polar opposites as a poppier Buckcherry (“Tease Tease Tease”) and a far more skilled Maroon 5 (“I Know, You Know”, “Here Again”). One could even imagine a mature Billy Idol helming “Another Surpise” and having an FM hit with it; guitarist Ryan Hoger even sounds like he’s getting his Steve Stevens on during the solo.
Hoger and Nick and Vince D’Agostino (bass and drums, respectively) have a clear, crisp sound and songs that for the most part hold up very well with repeat plays. The ten tracks hover between the four and five-minute mark, which is a minute longer than people expect from pop songs, but Jetpack On pulls it off; I never felt like the songs should have ended sooner.
In fact, my two favorite tracks might be the longest. The hypnotic single “Where Do We Go From Here?” gradually builds from a pulse to a fist-pumping rocker, and the closing track “Bring Her Back Home” is just dripping with attitude. I suggest that you check them out and get your Jetpack On!
Jetpack On! at MySpace
Although he sat in on a gig in July, he hadn’t been playing drums with them since 2009, but you can’t think of Little Feat without thinking of its backbone, and one of its founders, Richie Hayward. Diagnosed with liver cancer last year, and sadly (like so many musicians) without sufficient health insurance, he finally succumbed Thursday night.
Beyond the storied and wonderful Feat catalogue, Hayward also played with a laundry list of musicians over the years and will be sorely missed. I hope he and Lowell George are jamming right now in that club on the other side. R.I.P. my friend.