Thursday, July 23, 2009

We Were Promised Jet Packs: These Four Walls Album Review

There are a lot of different kinds of bands coming out of Scotland these days (Belle and Sebastian, Snow Patrol, Frightened Rabbit, Glasvegas) and now we have We Were Promised Jet Packs to add to that list. Like most Scotish bands there's just something about WWPJP that I just seem to like. Maybe it's that damn accent that just makes their singer (Adam Thompson) sound so sad and pathetic when he wails, or maybe its the gleeful pop that rides underneath all their songs, despite the often rough exterior. WWPJP's sound is very simple, but I'm not sure how I would describe it. I suppose it's a little bit like listening to Glasvegas's James Allan sing, but with less of that dreamy flood of noise that encompasses all their songs, and more of a down and dirty punk feel.

The first song "It's Thunder and It's Lightning" is a emotional song that starts off slow and builds up till all you hear is Adam Thompson yelling "Your body was black an blue". The song sets the tone for the rest of an album that bounces back and forth between emotional distraught and a desire to rock-out using a mixture of guitar, drums, and a playful glockenspiel throughout. It's minimalist and at times repetitive, but I argue that it's also effective. WWPJP's sound is a bit brash and tiresome, which is probably their biggest set back, but the songs have just enough space to breathe in between all the full fledged rampage. Aside from the opening track other good songs include: "Roll Up Your Sleeves", "Quiet Little Voices" and "Short Bursts", however on an album like this where every song seems to be of similar strength it is difficult to choose favorites. Not because every song is perfect in its composition and performance, but because none of them seem to exceed a certain level of merit.

These Four Walls is a solid debut album by a promising Scotish band, however it is not the breakthrough album they may have been hoping for. WWPJP is a band that I hope will develop their sound further and come back with an even better Sophomore album ( as hard as that is) because I don't think their current sound can survive a second rehashing. I enjoy it now, but I only really need to hear it once.

I'll have more to say on this band when I see them open for Frightened Rabbit on September 20th and the Knitting Factory. Until then I encourage all to check out their debut album: These Four Walls.

I give it 7/10 Bleeding Heads

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