The drowsy ballads on “No Nations” the sophomore full-length from Canadian quintet Jets Overhead, are an ideal soundtrack for closing time at a bar, or the end of a long night of clubbing. Musically, the album ranges from folk to pyschedelia. The songs never venture above mid-tempo, and lead vocals are handled primarily by husband-and-wife team Adam Kittredge and Antonia Freybe-Smith. Freybe-Smith, in particular, has a knack for casually tossing off poetic lines like, “He gets mad when I get drunk / Walk around town like a loaded gun,” on the blues-tinged “Fully Shed.”
Notably, Jets Overhead offered a “pay what you want mode” for their debut full-length, Bridges in 2006, more than a year before Radiohead made headlines with the same business model. No Nations, will be released June 23 on Vapor Records, the label owned by fellow Canuck Neil Young.
It should be said that “No Nations” is an ideal headphone record, as close listens expose several layers on tracks that otherwise might have seemed a bit too simple. The nuanced “Heading for Nowhere,” one of few songs on the record that have a sticks-in-your-head quality, is a great example.
Although the band, which hails from Victoria, British Columbia, would probably grimace at the comparison, Kittredge’s vocals occasionally stray into Chris Martin falsetto territory, but in a good way, as his shoegazer sentiments seem to have more depth than most of his peers’. ‚ On the folksy standout “Weathervanes (In the Way)” he croons, “If we take this something to escape that something / Don’t it just end up there in the way?”
For a band whose name calls to mind obtrusive noise, everything about the record is pleasantly understated.