We Were Promised Jetpacks
In the Pit of the Stomach


3.5
great

Review

by Ali CONTRIBUTOR (131 Reviews)
October 12th, 2011 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Scotland's latest starlets begin to blossom.

France and Italy are often cited as the nations which boast the sexiest voices, but when it comes to singing there's nothing that can beat the ragged, windswept Scottish drawl. No matter how harsh, tuneless or pissed up the voice, there's something undeniably beautiful and serene about that far northerly accent which is capable of igniting even the most lifeless of songs. Given that it's residents have such a powerful natural attribute, it's unsurprising that Scotland yields so many great bands, but even by it's standards the current crop is exciting. Biffy Clyro, The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit have all achieved a level of critical or commercial success (or both), and although they count those peers among their key influences, Edinburgh crew We Were Promised Jetpacks can now also be categorised alongside such prestigious company.

As you might have guessed, the centrepiece to WWPJ's music is their vocalist, Adam Thompson. His voice isn't the strongest, and if he belonged to any other nationality it would most likely act as a hindrance rather than a strength, but his hoarse chords are nevertheless blessed with the life-affirming sense of honesty and conviction which only a thick Scottish accent can bring. It does, of course, help that he's a damn fine lyricist on his day too, and that was one of the main factors which propelled his band's debut LP, These Four Walls, into the conscience of critics, some of whom hailed them as the region's next great musical hope. Such remarks may have been a little hyperbolic, but the music on that album had a universal appeal which struck a nerve with plenty of listeners, so the fact that this follow-up is essentially more of the same comes as no bad thing.

Granted, the general tone of In The Pit Of The Stomach is marginally bleaker than that of it's predecessor, but all of the key ingredients remain the same. The rough edged guitars still bring the noise, which can at times reach exhilarating peaks, while Sean Smith's thudding bass lines provide a rock solid musical backbone around which Thompson moulds his songs. Being a ragged Scot, it's hardly surprising that the majority of the frontman's words are markedly bleak, but that does nothing to mask their occasionally brutal effectiveness. Tracks like 'Hard To Remember' and 'Picture Of Health' especially impress in this department, and while Thompson also airs his more tender side during 'Act On Impulse' the general theme is noticeably more abrasive.

Generously, the band also decided to save the album's two brightest moments until last. Penultimate track 'Human Error' is a bundle of energy which in a nutshell sums up all that is good about the quartet, while closer 'Pear Tree' provides the most compelling evidence yet that the band are growing in confidence as a collective group of songwriters. Should they continue such improvement, it's not inconceivable that they could one day release a true classic, but for now it's just great to hear a promising Scottish band growing in stature and seemingly on a road to improvement. A more telling progression will surely be needed come album number three, but for now this is another thoroughly enjoyable record which will prove more than enough to maintain this excellent young group's forward momentum.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2011


7427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Originally written for http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/

Anyone who likes Scottish music (especially Frightened Rabbit) should check this out. Just imagine they stripped away the folk and replaced it with the rock energy of Biffy's first three albums.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2011


2719 Comments


Great review, pos.

Gonna check this out, though it might take a while since I'm trawling though the Ben Frost, Tim Hecker + Piano Magic discographies.

I'm not surprised the best songs are at the end, if I'm honest. I find that with this type of music that's usually the case.

iFghtffyrdmns
October 12th 2011


7047 Comments


Awesome write-up Ali, feature worthy for sure. If I could just nitpick about a couple things though:

1.) As you might have guessed from that intro
-I would take out "from that intro", referencing your own review in the review always comes off as sort of clunky, at least in my opinion.

2.)...with a life-affirming sense of honesty and conviction which only a thick Scottish accent can bring.
-This is a great sentence for the review, I would just change that first "a" to "the" (adds confidence/closure to your idea", and (I'm not entirely sure on this point) perhaps change "which" to "that". You might have to consult someone else on the second part though because I'm not sure exactly which word is appropriate there.

3.)debut LP, These Four Walls into
-You should have a comma between "Walls" and "into"


Like I said, all very small corrections but maybe worth taking a look into - either way, fantastic write up. I'll have to check this

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2011


7427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys!

Eric, I'm an obsessive perfectionist, I very much condone the practice of nitpicking haha

Also for those interested the album is streaming here http://www.avclub.com/articles/exclusive-album-stream-we-were-promised-jetpacks-i,62338/

bungy
October 12th 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome, and pos

STOP SHOUTING!
October 12th 2011


639 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this didn't grab me as much as their debut. i need to give it another listen.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2011


7427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's probably not as immediate, it took me three listens until I became hooked.

HBFS
October 12th 2011


1294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album rules hard

Knott-
Emeritus
October 12th 2011


10198 Comments


ill give this another shot tomorrow

ConsiderPhlebas
October 13th 2011


6157 Comments


Great review. I like this but always end up wishing I was listening to Frightened Rabbit.

uninvited
November 1st 2011


248 Comments


pos's

Knott-
Emeritus
November 1st 2011


10198 Comments


nah sorry this is no good. i might review it.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 1st 2011


22075 Comments


awesome band name

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

NeutralThunder12
November 1st 2011


8742 Comments


these four walls was so great

Knott-
Emeritus
November 1st 2011


10198 Comments


it really was. this... less so.

HBFS
November 1st 2011


1294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I guess this grew off me. But Circles and Squares is still so awesome

bungy
November 2nd 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

On the second listen, this is quite a bit better than these four walls

igocommando3
November 7th 2011


1 Comments


As a massive fan of The Twilight Sad, I find these guys music a little weak in comparison.

bungy
November 7th 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good thing they aren't writing twilight sad albums

bungy
November 7th 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A high 3.5/low 4 for now. I'm predicting their next album is going to be amazing.



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