We Were Promised Jetpacks‘ new album ‘Unravelling’ should already be worming its way into our ears at this stage, but due to some unfortunate setbacks the band’s album release date was pushed back to October – after this tour concludes. This left the band in something of a musical no-man’s land, forced to blood these new tunes without them being listened to first. Considering that the band’s sound is rich in epic atmospheres and hidden intricacies that only reveal themselves after several listens, the Jetpacks face a bit of challenge to make these tracks work.
The band kickstart tonight’s show with several of these new tracks, and mark a natural progression from the group’s earlier work. The tunes are slowed down just a tad, and with the measured drum beats and the light synth introductions, it feels like the songs have been carefully, and lovingly constructed.
The band are trying to capture the energy and ferocity of their first two albums, but without having to resort to playing very rapidly Despite that, the band still make plenty of room for frantic, noisy strumming and a whole lot of Scottish bellowing. Quiet Little Voices, one of the band’s biggest hits, is broken out just three songs into the set and is a high-octane indie belter. Thompson’s voice is massive, and with his distinctive Scottish brogue swathing every word, his vocals are unique and rather captivating.
The epic sprawl of Sore Thumb stands out from the rest, with a single incessant riff repeating over a steadily escalating background of noise and distortion. Roll Up Your Sleeves brings a catchy indie chorus to the choir of howling guitars and captures the unique mood that the Jetpacks are able to create; the sort of feeling you might get while standing on the top of a mountain in a strong gale while pulling a heroic pose.
Tracks from ‘Unravelling’ appear on occasion, and there is a sense that they may be written in too rigid a form. The move from quiet sections to wild and distorted sections is done well, but when every song seems to follow this same movement, it does become a bit tiresome. Perhaps a few more listens to tracks like Keep It Composed on record are needed to truly judge the band’s newer work.
The show starts to unravel quite dramatically during Thunder And Lightning. After telling the crowd that encores are just silly, the band launch into a dramatic opening before the lonely notes of the song’s opening tentatively emerge. The effect is quite impressive, and the atmosphere isn’t lost even with Thompson hitting a few bum notes. A tougher challenge is recovering from forgetting the words. Forced to stop and start again, Thompson halts once more to quash the encouraging clapping that has broken out amongst the crowd. Eventually the band get into the song, and once the momentum has built up it becomes an all-out noise fest, but the sloppiness at the start of the song kills the atmosphere that the group has created. With delayed album releases and mistakes marring performances, the Jetpacks project an amateurish air and sadly this show will be remembered as much for this as it will be for the quality set.