Concept songs from the ambient rock group Jets Overhead would appeal to young intellectuals concerned about war, over-consumption, and globalization.
But what about the stoner crowd?
Well, the Victoria-based indie group thinks it has that demographic covered too.
“We want to appeal to the stoners — to all our buddies who smoke doobies and listen to (Pink Floyd’s) Dark Side of the Moon,” said the group’s vocalist and guitarist Adam Kittredge, with a laugh.
That’s why Jets Overhead, which opens for the Juno Award-winning techno-pop artist, Lights, at the Red Deer Memorial Centre on Saturday (Nov. 14), frequently sets its stream-of-consciousness lyrics to hallucinatory melodies that wind back upon themselves, repeating the same guitar riffs over and over again.
The band comes by its intellectualism honestly — Kittredge studied philosophy at the University of Victoria, his wife Antonia Freybe (the band’s other vocalist and keyboardist) was an art history major.
The other group members — bassist Jocelyn Greenwood, guitarist Piers Henwood, and drummer Luke Renshaw — have also followed their own educational pursuits.
But then, the stoner-side of the group comes pretty naturally too.
“We’re from Victoria, so we’re no strangers to marijuana,” said a chuckling Kittredge.
“We might not wear pot leaves on our heads, but we can appreciate the mind-opening effects of hallucinogens.”
Since the band was formed by cousins Kittredge and Henwood and their friends in 2003, Jet Overhead has been building a solid fan base that now stretches to China, where the group toured last spring.
Kittredge was thrilled to see non-English-speaking Chinese music lovers grooving to the group’s atmospheric, undulating sounds.
“I had no preconceived notions about what consumers there would be like, but they were very voracious and excited — they want exposure to live music.”
Just the fact that people who live in as diverse countries as China, Sweden, India, Argentina, and Thailand are sharing music and ideas over the Internet supports the border-ridding concept of the last Jets Overhead album, No Nations, said Kittredge.
He believes the good side to globalization is “we are quickly becoming a smaller planet.”
And once people from all over the world form personal connections to each other, will politicians get the same public support for going to war? he wondered.
The U.S. was still in its George Bush years when members of Jets Overhead began recording their latest album.
Kittredge admitted, “We paid attention to what was going on in the world,” and the concern undoubtedly spilled onto the new album.
For instance, the title track was inspired by “war, fighting across border, segregation and subjugation of various groups in society,” he said — as well as the barriers individuals erect in their own lives against other people and other ways of life.
“There’s a theme of being locked within.”
The songs Tired of Comfort and Heading for Nowhere touch on people’s insatiable desire for more of everything. “We are constantly in turmoil,” said Kittredge, who admitted he’s no less a consumer than anybody else.
“It’s not like I live in the woods and don’t embrace technology — just lately I’ve been having a terrible time trying to decide if I should get a Blackberry or an iPhone — and it’s making me very tired.”
Jets Overhead open for Lights at the Memorial Centre at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14. Tickets are $26.30 from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.