Release Date: Jul 7, 2009
Record label: Fat Cat
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Sometimes a band’s name matches its music perfectly. Other times there is a dissonance created between nomenclature and art that could even sap some of the music’s impact. Imagine if Black Sabbath had decided to call itself A Flock of Seagulls, or vice versa; the disconnect between name and music would be so cavernous as to possibly consume the band entirely.
That Scottish water eh? I’m not altogether sure what they do (or rather don’t) put in it but every ten years or so - when the general state of music south of the border is starting to leave an overly familiar aftertaste in your mouth – along comes another great mini ‘scene’ from the north. What with the unexpected recent majesty of The Phantom Band and Frightened Rabbit, Moffat & Middleton getting second winds, and Twilight Sad a few months away from hopefully realising their full potential, Scotland has properly spoiled us once more. And you can now add We Were Promised Jetpacks to the group.
This debut by FatCat's latest Scottish discovery, We Were Promised Jetpacks, is exactly what you'd expect from the label that gave us the Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit: an anthemic collection of heavily accented singing, insistent rhythms, and intense sincerity. But just because it's not surprising doesn't mean it's not appealing. With songs that marry tough riffs to tender glockenspiels and find a balance between muscular, masculine drumming and singer Adam Thompson’s vulnerable, striving warble, there is much to like within These Four Walls.
We Were Promised Jetpacks have a lot in common with their fellow Glaswegians Frightened Rabbit and the Twilight Sad: not only do they share a label, FatCat, but their takes on earnest Scottish indie bear more than a passing resemblance to each other. While all of these groups are fond of soaring choruses and feature singers with endearingly thick burrs, We Were Promised Jetpacks distinguish themselves from their labelmates on These Four Walls. A little rawer than Frightened Rabbit and a little more streamlined than the Twilight Sad, WWPJ manage to be brooding but not mopey as they contrast post-punk urgency with indie pop melodicism.
There must be something in the water up there, as the debut by Fat Cat’s latest signing from Northern Britain attests. Like their compatriots and labelmates Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks fuse types of (mainly North American) alternative music with a raw, almost religious sensibility—passionate, heart-on-sleeve, and very Scottish. It’s interesting to compare this to Edinburgh’s Withered Hand, who gets at the passion but with a wry, anti-folk/slack rock-inspired sensibility on his EP Religious Songs.
Click here to get your copy of We Were Promised Jet Packs’ ‘These Four Walls’ from the Rough Trade shop.