We Were Promised Jetpacks' 'Roll Up Your Sleeves' marks the continuing momentum of a debut album that is already highly touted, already rapturously sung along to in a packed-out Scala (Jetpacks received a ecstatic welcome at their support slot for Frightened Rabbit in April - their third London show to date).
We Were Promised Jetpacks are their own band, by anyone's reckoning, but are noticeably informed and inspired by the sorts of musical movements that one moves to and is moved by in equal measure. As vocalist Adam Thompson's soon-to-be-classic Scottish lilt appears over the huge, full band instrumentation, the last four decades' worth of underground musical innovation are all thrown into the sonic space with a flawless assimilation: the jolting, carefree vigour and the backing chorus vocals of '70s post-punk (e.g. Gang of Four); the intricate and eloquent songcrafting and musicianship of '80s UK pop (of Kate Bush, Talk Talk etc.); the skewed jarr and inimitable coolness of '90s Western Pacific indie (of Steven Malkmus, The Shins etc.); the modernist, electrifying thrill of the last ten years of British indie. There is even the guitar-driven gravity and concurrently melodious and powerful impact of Explosions In The Sky or Mogwai and a Johnny Marr-esque sparkle to the lead guitar lines. Hot Club De Paris/Postcard/Fire Engines are similarly effective markers.
'Roll Up Your Sleeves' begins with a driving guitar line, bristling and tense. Effortlessly combining the serenity and maturity of bands such as Sigur Ros with the impact and thunderous crash of the likes of Futureheads, the band's youthful energy (their average age is 21) is at once amibitious and bold, never over-impulsive.
B-side 'Back To The Bare Bones' is a similar study of colossal chord changes and aching desperation: energetic, intertwining, effortlessly stirring. Proof again that even the band's quietest moments are just as enveloping, just as deafening as the enthralling indie that pulses thrillingly through their loudest crescendos.
Assembled in Edinburgh as high school friends in 2003, We Were Promised Jetpacks' first ever gig saw them winning their school's battle of the bands competition. Proceeding shows were after-school performances around the city of Edinburgh which were well attended and fuelled the band with a hunger and ambition. The 4-piece came to FatCat's attention when listening to some of the friends on the Frightened Rabbit Myspace page.
Before even releasing a single, WWPJ have laid claim to some recent successes which suggest the heralding of a major talent bursting to emerge. A well recorded three-track demo was circulated and managed to pick up a KEXP track of the day over the pond, and plays on national stations in the UK were popping up on XFM, BBC and Q radio. Before the announcement of WWPJ signing to FatCat Records, a strong hint was sitting on the shelves across the UK in the form of inclusion on a recent FatCat sampler, mounted onto Plan B magazine.
A tour through September 2008 as main support for Frightened Rabbit garnered some great reviews for WWPJ. This being their first jaunt into England, healthy crowds arrived early on each evening due to the huge buzz in Scotland now filtering down south of the border.
With an album scheduled for June 2009, the forthcoming year of releases and touring is set to be a busy one for We Were Promised Jetpacks.
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