We Were Promised Jetpacks

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Unravelling Review

by Heather Phares

We Were Promised Jetpacks learned not to pull their punches on In the Pit of the Stomach, and on Unravelling, they find more sophisticated ways to harness that unleashed energy. The band enlisted producer Paul Savage for this album, and working at Glasgow's Chem19 Studios, he delivers a punchy, roomy sound that allows their extremes -- blasting drums and guitars and delicate keyboards -- to come through clearly. Unravelling also reflects Jetpacks' prowess as a live act -- something that E Rey: Live in Philadelphia also documented -- on songs like the lumbering "I Keep It Composed," which pummels with a heavy, looping riff and powerful drums, which are as much of linchpin as they were on In the Pit of the Stomach. The music's physicality is echoed by Unravelling's lyrics, which find Adam Thompson grappling with internal struggles in ways that have an almost tangible heft. On "Peace Sign" and the excellent "Bright Minds," he tries to contain his anger and doubt, which build with each jabbing verse before pulling back on the brooding choruses. Despite the album's volatile moods, Unravelling boasts some of the band's most inviting songs, whether it's the anthemic opener "Safety in Numbers," the ultra-catchy "Peaks and Troughs," or "A Part of It," which manages to find the perfect balance between their strummy indie pop roots and their later, heavier sound. To Jetpacks' credit, they never let the album's tension go completely slack even on its quieter moments. The ghostly "Disconnecting" is just as powerful in its ominous pianos and delicate drumming as the full-bore tracks are, while "Ricochet" offers a gentler take on the album's themes -- trust, doubt, intimacy -- that resonates just as strongly. Quite possibly We Were Promised Jetpacks' most vivid album to date, Unravelling finds the band making music that's harder to place than ever -- and that much more interesting for it.

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