These Four Walls

We Were Promised Jetpacks

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These Four Walls Review

by Heather Phares

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. At their best, We Were Promised Jetpacks find inventive ways of making fast tempos and sprightly melodies sound more than a little sad, especially on the singles "Quiet Little Voices" and "Roll Up Your Sleeves," which boasts the oddly romantic line "I can wait till summer/When you're warmer." At times, WWPJ do give into their dour side too much, and while there's no denying that their dynamic shifts and all-or-nothing climaxes pack a punch, songs such as "This Is My House, This Is My Home" and "It's Thunder and It's Lightning" get repetitive. Fortunately, as These Four Walls unfolds, WWPJ show that they can do more than just anthemic angst. "Moving Clocks Run Slow"'s sparkling guitars sound downright impatient with joy, while the album's most epic track, "Keeping Warm," is an eight-minute meditation on how precious life is. They're also adept at seeking out life's uncomfortable but real moments with lyrics like "Your silence is bearable/But only in short bursts" and "I whispered out my greatest fears to anyone who would hear me" on the acoustic closer, "An Almighty Thud." These Four Walls' best moments suggest We Were Promised Jetpacks can continue to stake out their own territory among their Glasgow peers.

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