Jan Ní Fhlanagáin
posted on June 06, 2009 19:00
A review of the album These Four Walls by We Were Promised Jetpacks
Review Snapshot: A confident statement of intent from this Edinburgh four piece who are staunch in their sound and endearing in its execution. They don’t always hit the highs they’re aiming for but there are clear indicators that they’ll reach them in time.
The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10
We Were Promised Jetpacks are not a band you’d mess with lightly. Pale-faced indie kids with lilied livers they most certainly are not. Opening track ‘It’s Thunder and it’s Lightning’ nails their colours firmly to the mast as a solid, energetic and forceful foursome intent on blowing away the competition.
From the off there’s an honesty to frontman Adam Thompson’s vocals that draws you in, just like label mates and fellow countrymen ‘The Twilight Sad’ and ‘Frightened Rabbit’ the Scottish brogue certainly helps but there’s much more to him than that. His voice is expertly engineered to shift from sullen to soaring in a matter of seconds and serves as the perfect counterpoint to the thundering drumming that drives this record on.
You’ll struggle to catch your breath for the first four songs of These Four Walls, the pace is frenetic and the sound intense. Fifth track ‘A Half Built House’ is, in some ways, a half built song in that it seems to act as an intermission of sorts, however, it also offers a glimpse at the palette of found sounds that lie behind the pulsating drums and power chords.
‘Quiet Little Voices’ (the debut single off the album) is, in essence, a perfectly crafted blitz of indie rock but loses some of its punch by the time you get to the fourth minute! In fact most of the songs that make up the later half of the record could have benefited from a tighter reign. The lyrical and melodic idea at the centre of penultimate track ‘Keeping Warm’ just gets lost in 8 minutes, but the closing couplet it forms with largely acoustic track ‘An Almighty Thud’ gives the album a more rounded sound and tempers the frantic pace of earlier tracks.
There’s a lot to like about We Were Promised Jetpacks in that for good or bad this is clearly the record they wanted to make, unlike say White Lies, there’s no over-reliance on influences, instead there’s a confidence, a bloody mindedness and a commitment to their sound that marks them out as ones to watch. If they can marry the energy of tracks like ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ with the scope hinted at in ‘A Half Built House’ they’re sure to merit the mantle of next big thing.
Jan Ní Fhlanagáin