A horrible hack

We Were Promised Jetpacks

These Four Walls

Year Released: 2009
Format: CD
Label: Fat Cat Records
 
Reviewed by Dan Bennett on Oct 13, 2009
We Were Promised Jetpacks are the latest in what seems to be a sudden revival of great indie bands hailing from Scotland.

Along with bands such as Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks are providing us with another chunk of melancholic indie with heavily accented vocals.

It's unfair to lump them all in together though as all three offer us elements that make each band unique, with WWPJ it's the pace of their songs.

Taking a more upbeat route than their aforementioned touring partners, WWPJ are more akin to bands such as Bloc Party with the heavy use of choppy post punk and quickly picked riffs.

The album kicks off with a sparse beginning on "It's Thunder And It's Lightning", a guitar line comprising of only 3 or 4 notes that is soon joined by Thompson's delicate vocals bordering on spoken word. It's at this point where the song begins to find it's feet, the introduction of an arpeggiated xylophone misleads the listener into a sense of calm as the vocals become more aggressive amongst a burst of energy while the drums seem to come crashing down around you into a sea of distortion and screeching guitars.

Here we find Thompson at his most emotive, building things up with the repetition of "Your Body Was Black And Blue" until his voice breaks and becomes a bellow of sheer passion whilst everything breaks down around him again.

First single, "Quiet Little Voices" again starts with a minimal riff leading into one the album's poppiest songs, quite why thus song isn't playing in every club I visit I don't know. The bouncing guitar and bass lines partnered with the full on chorus make this a track guaranteed to get any crowd going, proving that you can make a song with a catchy chorus and a post punk feel without sounding like Franz Ferdinand.

The album's penultimate track "Keeping Warm" stands out in that it's pretty much double the length of most songs on the album weighing in at a meaty 8 minutes. It's at about the 2 minutes mark where the song begins it's beautiful ascension into what you might believe is going to be a ferocious climax, but no, the band are too clever to fall into the usual cliche. Instead we get a single clink of a xylophone key and everything drops, ready for the band to start over with one of the most beautiful tracks on the album.

The main thing I was amazed to discover is that the band have an average age of 21, something that surprised me with the maturity of the lyrics. Whilst not as moving or relative as say Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit (I believe he's raised the bar for everyone), Thompson's lyrics show a sign of brilliant things to come, proving that the delivery of the lyrics can be just as important as their contents.

The one aspect that will carry WWPJ a long way is the accessibility of the album, already the band have been featured all over National radio with tracks like "Quiet Little Voices" and "Roll Up Your Sleeves", which is going to set them above their current label mates in appealing to the mass market.

For a debut effort, WWPJ have created a promising foothold in the current Indie scene, proving that they can create music that will appeal to all yet still retain integrity and passion, standing in a music scene diluted by press flavour's of the week.

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