After releasing three albums on Interscope, and an abortive new deal with the legendary Chris Blackwell (Island/Palm Pictures), Polara had spent almost eight years inside the major label alternative rock machine. Weary of the slow-motion world of the big labels, the band stuck out on its own, forming the Susstones cooperative label and taking the means of production into its own hands.
Jetpack Blues is certainly the most complex and epic of all Polara albums, with the band's trademark short, sharp pop tunes bathed in labyrinthine layers of psychedelic texture. At a time when this was a relative rarity in rock music, Polara integrated electronic, computer-based, and analog elements into a futuristic vision that summed up the band's many influences and ambitions. Standout tracks "Is This It", "Can't Get Over You", "Wig On", and the title track were all centerpieces of the band's massive live sets of the time. The album was a certified local hit, selling as well in the midwest as any of the band's previous records even without major label baking. Unfortunately, lack of business and management infrastructure led to the band only doing scattered national touring behind the record, so it never got the exposure it deserved across the country.
Pitchfork's review of the album predicted "when this kind of stuff has its renaissance fifteen years from now, your kids'll love it". Now is just about the time to rediscover this milestone album from Polara.
released May 2, 2002
Produced by Ed Ackerson. Recorded at Flowers Studio, Minneapolis using 2, 8, and 24 track linear and 3.5" nonlinear magnetic media.
Ed Ackerson: vocals, guitars, bass, organ, piano, synthesizers, programming, loops, percussion
Jennifer Jurgens: vocals, guitars, piano, organ, synthsizers
Dan Boen: bass, synthesizers, programming
Peter Anderson: drums on 2, 3, 4, 5
Erik Mathison: drum on 3, 6, 9, 10
Marc Iwanin: drums on 9
Knobby: drums on 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
John Strohm: horn arrangement and reverse consultation on 3
Janey Winterbauer: backing vocal on 5
Gary Louris: drone and main lead guitar on 6
Thank you: Robert and Rosemary Ackerson, Christian Erickson, Clint and Mary Ann Jurgens, Paul Kolderie, Ashley Prenzlow, Tal Tahir, Nick Tangborn, Jenna Thompson, Dan and Helen Boen
Acknowledgements: Chris Blackwell, Rosemary Carroll, Bob Ezrin, Joe Galdo, George Howard, Frank Riley/High Road Touring, Gary Smith/Fort Apache/Geronimo, Tom Whalley
For Susstones: Vince Caro, John Kass, Marc Mueller, Mike Reiter
Reissue series special thanks: PD Larson
Thanks also to: Big and Bryant Lake Bowls, Paul Henry/GC Edina, Steve McClellan and First Avenue, Bill Sullivan and the 400 Bar, Twin Town Guitars
Support and inspiration: Gary Louris/Jayhawks, Mark Mallman, Peter Holmstrom, John Strohm
Album design: Jennifer jurgens and Ed Ackerson
Conceptual assistance: Tricia Boland, Nick Tangborn
Mastering: Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering