Ever since the Replacements lost their teeth, the legions of post-punkers with a soft spot for intelligent, emotional yet muscular and bracing punk-tinged guitar rock have searched the horizon for a new group of bass-guitar-drum warriors to sign up with. Jets To Brazil frontman Blake Schwartzenbach used to make such beautiful noise with his prior band, Jawbreaker. Now joined with three other like-minded refugees -- Chris Daly (of Texas Is the Reason), Bryan Maryansky (of The Van Pelt) and Jeremy Chatelain (of Handsome) -- Jets To Brazil comes across as more expansive, complex and mature than any of its related fragments.
Four Cornered Night is the group's second outing and begins with "You're Having the Time of My Life" which is a bit too Cracker/Green Day for my taste. But then, with that somewhat obvious bid for a "hit" out of the way, things immediately get spectacular.
With the overdrive turned way down and a definite emphasis placed on emotional, soul-searching and relationship-centered songwriting, the album is a long walk down the same less-traveled path the band first explored on 1998's Orange Rhyming Dictionary. And nowhere is the Jet's sonic and lyrical evolution more evident than on "In the Summer's When You Really Know," a touching, piano-led number that is as sublimely tragic as it is shamelessly romantic. It's exciting, this realization that frank and eloquent discussion of shared personal experiences can, in the right hands, be transformed into something so luminous.