We Were Promised Jetpacks was formed in 2003 in Edinburgh, Scotland, among high school friends, Adam Thompson (guitar/vocals), Sean Smith (bass), and Darren Lackie (drums). The band’s lyrics come courtesy of Adam Thompson; however, everything else arises as a result of team collaboration.
In the vein of other Scottish bands such as Glasvegas and Camera Obscura, or American standards like The Shins or The Killers, this talented young band has already garnered a strong fan base in the UK as a regular opener for Frightened Rabbit. Their move across the pond this year to play a few select shows in NYC and Austin will likely increase their international exposure. Although their recurrent song themes of anger and defiant sarcasm are nothing new to popular music, their proficiency at delivering these ideas through lyrics and instrumentation help to make up for this common message.
These Four Walls has solid cuts and doesn’t suffer from any major lulls due to a strong track arrangement. In addition, the production on this release makes for a rougher, edgier sound, which is important for music of this genre. More impressive is that the hit singles, “Roll Up Your Sleeves” and “Quiet Little Voices,” are not necessarily the strongest tracks. Other stand-outs include “Ships With Holes Will Sink”, “A Half Built House”, and “Moving Clocks Run Slow”. While there is not a lot of musical distinction between these tracks, all are well-played and are successful at holding the listeners attention. The guitar riffs, melodic movements and strong vocals contribute greatly to the stamina of this album.
Despite These Four Walls being a strong debut release this album will likely not receive a lot of regular play from me. That said, I will be interested to see how We Were Promised Jetpacks follows up their debut. This is a strong band with potential, but so many bands suffer from the “similarity syndrome”; simply having a strong band musically is not enough anymore. It’s critical for bands in today’s popular music scene develop uniqueness about their style that sets them apart from the rest of the pack. Distinction will be something that We Were Promised Jetpacks will face with their second release.
These Four Walls is out now on Fat Cat Records.