A hit or miss name, thick accents and generous use of a glockenspiel are a few elements to be found on the debut album These Four Walls by We Were Promised Jetpacks (Glasgow).
The so-called indie scene lost its sheen quite some time ago, partly as a result of every person living within certain urban postcodes in cities around the world belonging to some band, releasing lounge-room EP’s on lounge-room record labels. This continuing chapter in the democracy of rock and roll is both wonderful and desperate. While no-one can fault the ideology that rock belongs to everybody, and is capable of anybody, the result of the current environment has been a lot of essentially decent, but not-quite brilliant music being made, by too many bands to keep track of.
While We Were Promised Jetpacks’ debut release, These Four Walls, is certainly easy enough to get through, there’s nothing particularly grabbing about the album. Jetpacks carry more depth than other previous of-the-moment indie bands, but their attempts at creating emotionally raw and laden post-punk drenched rock largely failed to pack a punch on this writer. The songs themselves are clear, solidly written and embedded with a dark romance reminiscent of a less mopey Editors. Singer Adam Thompson revels in his native Scottish tongue, allowing his accent to seep through every track and this is endearing – undoubtedly helping in giving Jetpacks a sound of their own. Without it, they’d be at risk of blending in with the rest of the crowd.
It’s Jetpacks’ pursuit of emotional drama through building crashing noise and the use of Thompson’s quiet to verbose vocals which falls shortest. The use of crunching, quickly strummed guitar works beautifully in certain areas of These Four Walls, but almost every song’s need to turn into some kind of inspiratory track is not only unnecessary, it’s a common trick used too often these days. The best track by far on These Four Walls is the last one – An Almighty Thud. Acoustic and restrained, it showcases Thompson’s voice at its best – without any shouty theatrics – and also hints at a more than capable lyricist.
Ultimately, These Four Walls is more than mediocre but far from brilliant. Important to remember though, is Jetpacks are a young band. All around 21 years old, it’s safe to say they have time to develop and grow as artists. As sung in Keeping Warm, being young is definitely something they should take heart in, they can learn to walk in their own time.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: An Almighty Thud
These Four Walls is out now on Pod through Inertia