Reggae-rock band Jet West continues to grow in popularity in the SoCal beach community with every passing day, stemming from the sweeping success of their premiere album Dropping In that debuted in 2010. Following their initial acclaim, Jet West switched gears from recording to establishing a firm stance in the scene – compiling years of touring, festivals, videos and more to their musical savoir-faire. It really seems that Jet West can do no wrong: as audiences continue to grow in number at every headlining show over time, fans new and old waited with patient anticipation for the release of the band’s inevitable sophomore album. And, seven years later, that day has finally come.
It’s common knowledge that prolonged gaps between releases could potentially tarnish a band’s reputation, especially if a follow-up album turns out to be subpar from the first. With so many examples of a hiatus gone wrong, fans of Jet West might’ve had their doubts when the news of the Wake Up LP hit their ears (and social media newsfeeds). After a band has been hailed for so long at the top, it’s hard, as a fan, to see the band take a turn for the worse! Fortunately, Jet West’s Wake Up is so above and beyond anything that they’ve ever produced that it inadvertently renders their first album a nostalgic relic compared to where the band is about to go. No understatement: the new album is polished, elaborately sophisticated, and emanates experience. Three thumbs way, way up.
the new album is polished clean, elaborately sophisticated, and emanates experience
Wake Up is an 11-track LP off Hidden Reef Records, and boasts a whole different side to the band that’s never been heard before. Jet West leaves behind the edgy, rock-infused sound of Dropping In to embrace a softer, island tonality – with the second track on the album conveniently entitled “Island”. What’s more, the band has segued their sound to include Latin brass and island instrumentals, the combination of which launches listeners into their own private tropical vacation. Life is short, so might as well live it to the fullest. The escapist “Island” track features Seedless frontman Matt Liufau in the chorus, with lyrics emphasizing a “no stress” existence over a kettle drum back drop. Hawaii, here we come! The next track in line is the title track, “Wake Up”, and also the band’s primary single off the album. The song pushes empathy and humility, and there’s nothing like saying ‘all you need is love’ in order to get people to open their eyes and take action. Track number seven is an ode to friendship, stating that there’s no better feeling than being “free in good company”. If “Wake Up” is a modern-day “All You Need is Love”, then “Free” is “With a Little Help From My Friends”… I mean, hey, it worked for The Beatles…
And, speaking of the greatest bands of yesteryear, Jet West includes their own rendition of The Doors’ “People Are Strange”, co-produced by Pepper frontman Kaleo Wassman. The track is faster, dubbier, and even trippier than the original, with new lyrics from lead singer Scott Floquet in between the first and second choruses. With all the constituents that make up a good cover, this version of The Doors’ classic takes the cake for holding firm to the song’s roots in between Jet West’s creative additions.
Wake Up is now available on all digital outlets, and for the purists out there, fans who buy hard copies take home a little extra, with album art done by renowned artist Jimmy Ovadia. Jet West has just embarked on a northwest tour to commemorate their album, which started at The Mint in Los Angeles and will hit several cities along the coast (and surrounding states) before ending in the band’s hometown of San Diego. Shows include a stop at Lake Tahoe, Seattle’s Hempfest, and a college kickoff concert at the University of Idaho, and San Diego fans can expect a giant homecoming extravaganza for Jet West’s finalé show at The Music Box on August 26th.
Preview and download Wake Up on
- Wake Up
- People Are Strange
- Could You Be
Jet West “Wake Up” official video
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.