We Were Promised Jetpacks
These Four Walls


3.5
great

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
July 18th, 2009 | 69 replies | 12,924 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Direct and impressive indie-rock from Frightened Rabbit's labelmates; there's enough solid, and sometimes fantastic, material here to suggest they're very much a band to keep your eyes on.

Citing your labelmates as an influence is a pretty dangerous thing to do at any time, if only because it implies that the label which signed you has very little desire to explore new territory, but it's even riskier when those musicians happen to be 2008's biggest Scottish success story, Frightened Rabbit. It's much more optimistic, though, to see such a citation as bold instead of stupid, and put it down to We Were Promised Jetpacks' self-confidence that they're doing enough to impress both newcomers and people familiar with Fat Cat Records' current roster. Are they justified in such an assured approach? On the basis of their debut LP These Four Walls, the answer is unequivocally 'yes'.

Playing indie-rock not dissimilar in production or sonic range to that of Rabbit or The Twilight Sad, WWPJ are nevertheless a different beast. Their music is arguably more accessible than either of their primary comparisons, as they drop folk influence for a more post-punk vibe and cut the progressive tendencies down to a more bitesize scale. Opener It's Thunder And It's Lightning demonstrates this perfectly, building to a crescendo where frontman Adam Thompson repeats the title lyric over a wall of guitars. His vocals are gruff and personable, as you'd expect, and the music suits such a delivery to the very last detail; the guitars punch and skip, the occasional piano line brings that bit of tenderness to the fore, and the band boast a persistent rhythm section which consistently maintains the record's momentum, and at its best - on the more aggressive tracks like Quiet Little Voices and Short Bursts - is explosive and commanding to an extent most indie-rock bands never achieve.

Most of the time, These Four Walls is decidedly straightforward in its tone; that's not to say it's simplistic in its execution, as interweaving guitar lines and cleverly constructed drum beats craft a sound that very definitely belongs to WWPJ, but the lyrics, for example, comprise a blunt and no-nonsense landscape of difficult decisions and raw British life. The range of instrumentation is also narrow, but it doesn't matter; the direct approach rarely damages this record, instead making it more geared to the fan of straight-up rock music and still greatly attractive to the more indie listener by way of its quirks, like the echoed production mid-way through Short Bursts. The aquatic interlude of A Half Built House or the long instrumental sections of Keeping Warm hint at creative notions that aren't fully explored but do hit very high notes when they come into play; it would be nice to see the band be a little less apologetic in that regard on future releases.

These Four Walls sometimes lacks the gripping moments you'd expect of an album in this vein; the melodies are less immediate and hooky, the choruses sometimes don't find themselves quickly enough and the lyricism, whilst decent, leaves something to be desired, but some of those attributes deserve praise and appreciation rather than disappointment. As Scotland's brilliant indie output reaches an all-time high, We Were Promised Jetpacks can easily count themselves among the reasons for such an opinion. They set themselves apart, and while their debut album sometimes seems a little camera shy and slightly too restrained to make its full impact, there's enough solid, and sometimes fantastic, material here to suggest they're very much a band to keep your eyes on.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
July 18th 2009



10195 Comments


Hi I'm Adam Knott, Sputnik's new Scotland correspondent :/

I like this review *egoface*.

rasputin
July 18th 2009



14540 Comments


whoa indie rock how surprising

Knott-
Emeritus
July 18th 2009



10195 Comments


well it's more metal tbh

Waior
July 18th 2009



11451 Comments


I just realized how you joined after I did but somehow you've managed to crank out 41 solid reviews in 8 months. Perplexing. Add another quality review to the list, egoface.

Indie.

Knott-
Emeritus
July 19th 2009



10195 Comments


was that a joke

tombits
July 19th 2009



3470 Comments


^you, sir, just earnt my undying love.

sounds good, although I didn't really get into Frightened Rabbit. will check out though.

joshuatree
Emeritus
July 19th 2009



3743 Comments


strikey is the new adam downer

Waior
July 19th 2009



11451 Comments


zazzy thought right there

robin
Emeritus
July 19th 2009



4248 Comments


yes ec is forced into a very early retirement.

and i might get this, have you heard (the new) idlewild? they're scottish as canbe.

joshuatree
Emeritus
July 19th 2009



3743 Comments


adam downer is irrelevant strikey is less so thus he's the new adam downer

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2009



15732 Comments


adam downer

Spare
July 19th 2009



5271 Comments


hey adam downer i heard you got your username from the new black eyed peas album are these allegations true?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2009



15732 Comments


other way around 8)

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2009



20856 Comments


Strikey's also making me obsolete with a review every other day. Why don't we just change the name of this website to StrikeyMusic.com?

These guys sound like The Proclaimers yeah? Gordon Strachan maybe?

Knott-
Emeritus
July 19th 2009



10195 Comments


More Strachan than the Proclaimers :p

Good, new, unknown music deserves attention but apparently sputnik isn't indie or Scottish enough ^^

I have no job since I'm leaving for my year abroad in a month and a half, therefore, far too much spare time.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2009



20856 Comments


Does that mean we will lose you for a while in a month's time? Do they have the interweb in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Knott-
Emeritus
July 19th 2009



10195 Comments


:p I think the Universities of Dijon and Cadiz are fully equipped with Internet access

Douglas
July 19th 2009



9098 Comments


I am buying this cd, just because of the name of the band.

Digging: James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical

Knott-
Emeritus
July 19th 2009



10195 Comments


it is probably the best band name i've come across this year

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2009



20856 Comments


"I think the Universities of Dijon and Cadiz are fully equipped with Internet access."

You won't have time. It will be all mustard in France, while if you're ever indoors in Cadiz you should be shot. I'm certain uni lectures take place on the beach there.

F**k, I'm jealous.




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