Album Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks – The Last Place You’ll Look EP

By on Friday, 19th March 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

From accounts I’ve heard so far, We Were Promised Jetpacks have been wowing audiences across North America on their latest tour, which just wrapped up on 15 March. And at these shows, singer Adam Thompson has been referring to “our new EP” which is called ‘The Last Place You’ll Look’ and will be released digitally in the UK on 12 April. I’ve seen the Scottish quartet twice now and really love the immediacy of their debut album, ‘These Four Walls’. So I’ve been itching to get my hands on their new material.

‘A Far Cry’, the first song on the new EP, sounds like the Jetpacks’s “going to war” song. Darren Lackie’s drumming on the song should bring everyone to attention. The spare guitars from Thompson, guitarist Michael Palmer and bassist Sean Smith in the lyric-less ‘The Walls are Wearing Thin’ are proof that these Scots are technically dextrous with their instruments. They put in good effort with ‘With the Benefit of Hindsight’; the only problem with the track is that in the joy of putting horns with their usual backing, Thompson’s vocals are muddled and lost in the mix. For me, his powerful vocals are a central source of power in the band’s songs, so it’s the one disappointment I have with this EP.

Two of the songs should be familiar to WWPJ fans: for this EP, ‘Short Bursts’ and ‘This is My House, This is My Home’ have been reworked and give way to amazing results. An uncle of mine once asked me what they sounded like, and at a loss of how to describe their hard-hitting live sound I said, vaguely, “uh…punk? Rock-ish?” But you’d never think of these songs as punk. The re-do of ‘Short Bursts’ is less raw, warmer. And the new version of ‘This is My House…’ is slowed down, with added strings and Thompson’s emotional Scottish brogue coming together to feel like your mother wrapping you in a warm blanket. Lovely. While this EP is a good stop-gap between albums, it’s made me look forward to their sophomore effort and hope that they’ll be able to take the maturity evidenced in this EP and combine it winningly with the ‘These Four Walls’ laddishness.

As alluded to in my Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel gig review last month, I couldn’t buy this EP at the show because the merchandise table had disappeared from its post before I could get over there. And I’ve found out why I couldn’t find information on the physical release of the new EP: the physical format will only be available at their shows this year, so word to the wise: if you’re like me and prefer physical CDs, be sure to see them live and buy this great EP in person.

7/10

We Were Promised Jetpacks’s new EP, ‘The Last Place You’ll Look’, will be released digitally by Fat Cat Records on 12 April and can be pre-ordered now. The physical format of the EP will be available exclusively at the band’s live shows this year.

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