We Were Promised Jetpacks – In The Pit Of The Stomach
October 6, 2011
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We Were Promised Jetpacks are a group that you should know about. Not just because of the ridculousness/awesomeness of their name, the boys originally from Edinburgh have just dropped the follow-up to their cult-favourite debut album. In the Pit of the Stomach shows drastic improvement from their debut These Four Walls.
Where These Four Walls felt a little rushed and unclean, In The Pit Of The Stomach shows how a band can progress with a little more direction and space. They’ve attempted to create an album of anthems and while it doesn’t quite achieve what it could, there are some songs that have an anthemic quality. They don’t try to overplay their instruments, sticking with relatively simple movements, nor do they attempt to create a wall-of-sound by employing whatever instruments they could find. It is done by the old-fashioned approach; harmonies, dynamics and balance.
It is no surprise that the band chose to lead with Act On Impulse. It is the perfect example of craftmanship that exemplifies the record. Building intro, shock drops in acoustics and a repetitive vocal line that is near impossible to forget. But it’s hard not to think of the song as unfinished. The amount of time put into creating such a daunting opening seems to have subtracted from the peak that it could have reached. It’s kind of like taking a limousine to Canberra; you enjoy the trip but you are completely underwhelmed by the destination.
After a couple of listens, you get the impression that a lot of the songs have this same feeling of neglect, the exception being Sore Thumb. Sore Thumb uses a higher-pitched guitar riff as a driving force throughout the song, which helps to maintain a direction. As the bass and rhythm distort in both rhythm and volume, this guitar riff maintains the shape and identity of the song. The ability to use dynamics effectively is important in all forms of music. The way WWPJ juxtapose the crashing of the drums and roaring guitars on Boy In the Backseat and Human Error with their melancholy follow-up Pear Tree is a testament to the production displayed on the album.
For a sophomore album, In The Pit Of The Stomach is quite an expressive piece that helps to establish a career direction for the young band. The lack of a real climax in any of the songs means you can enjoy the album without really loving it. It’s not an amazing album by any means, but does leave me feeling quite excited for their follow-up.