The difficult second album has brought many bands back to Earth after a promising debut. With Shine On, Australian hard rockers Jet do their level best to avoid the follow-up doldrums. While nothing here is as immediate and memorable as "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?," the album stacks up well against Get Born. Working again with Dave Sardy, the band maintains its tough and alive sound and delivers the same mix of energetic rockers and introspective ballads as before. They attack the songs with passion, wring plenty of noise from their instruments, and generally sound enthusiastic and creative. The hard rocking songs are what the band is mainly known for and there are some good ones on board, like the pounding "Rip It Up," "Holiday," and the chest-thumping strutter "Come on Come On." Unfortunately, there are also a couple of rockers that fall flat. "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" is a far too obvious attempt to recapture of the feel of "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?," but only ends up sounding desperate. If ever a cowbell felt obligatory, it does here. A few others come up short in the lyrical department; "Stand Up" is a cringe-inducing statement of empowerment and "Holiday" is pretty silly, too. The real strength of the record, and of the band, comes through on the ballads. When they drop the tough pose and get tender, Jet create some nice moments of emotion and melancholy beauty. Sure, the ballads sound as if they were cribbed right from the Oasis playbook, from the sound of the vocals to the structure of the songs, but they don't sound phony or forced. Tunes like "Bring It on Back," "Kings Horses," and "Eleanor" are sophisticated, sensitive, and graceful-sounding, and "Shine On" provides some real emotional weight. Even better than the ballads (which anyone who gave a real listen to the first album knew they could pull off) are the midtempo songs such as "Skin and Bones," the very hooky "Hey Kids" (which overcomes a very clunky Vietnam reference in the lyrics), and "Shiny Magazine," which show a middle ground between flat-out rocking and epic balladry where Jet sounds very comfortable. Shine On is a good album that avoids the sophomore slump, but has enough moments of rote rocking to make the next record a worrisome prospect. If they manage to tip the scales toward their tender and introspective side, Jet may turn out to be a band to reckon with.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra