Few people outside a limited circle of modern-rock listeners have probably heard of Jets to Brazil, though at showtime Monday it was probably the hottest ticket in town. Considering the New York City band’s inspired showing, however, it’s only a matter of time before the quartet is headlining much larger venues.
Led by ex-Jawbreaker frontman Blake Schwarzenbach, who sings and also plays lefty guitar and keyboards, the Jets — one of the de facto leaders of the so-called emo-core movement — thoroughly engaged the over-packed club with a dozen songs from their two excellent albums, 1998’s pop-punk “Orange Rhyming Dictionary” and the recently issued (via Delaware indie Jade Tree Records) “Four Cornered Night,” a more mellow effort and one of the best pop-rock albums of this year.
The Jets show — which was opened by two young bands, including impressive frenetic rockers the Icarus Line — began with a slightly sped-up rendition of their sugary “You’re Having the Time of My Life,” the lead track on the new album that immediately reveals Schwarzenbach’s newfound inclination for emotional contemplation. “If I had another last chance/I would listen to your heart,” he offered.
Schwarzenbach’s current songwriting style, an Americana version of the late ’60s sound made by the likes of the Beatles and Kinks, has evolved from the unfocused angst of the band’s debut into more personal terrain on the reflective “Four Cornered Night,” and with that move has come a discreet sense of familiarity to each of his new songs that translates well to the stage.
Among the best of those new tunes at the Troub was “One Summer Last Fall,” in which Schwarzenbach’s delicate vocal melody at times recalled Paul McCartney, “Orange Rhyming Dictionary” (which, despite the name, is on the new album), where his keyboards gave a dramatic wah-wah-ish guitar effect, and encore “In the Summer’s When You Know,” a beautiful ballad in which Schwarzenbach cries over the loss of young love and innocence.