we were promised jetpacks these four walls
  • WEDNESDAY, JULY 01, 2009

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Upon first listen, We Were Promised Jetpacks - brimming with heavy guitars and emotions in a familiar indie rock accented drawl - are musical twins to bands such as The National and The Twilight Sad. But maybe it's their Scottish background that lends These Four Walls authenticity and an intense desperation in their songs that bleed beyond the strong but predictable song structures.

It is songs like "Roll Up Your Sleeves" where this band's true pop aesthetic comes in, replacing dry ambivalent melodies with a persistent energy that pounds through reassurances to "stay calm". "Conductor" conducts a pretty, gentle melody that bobs beneath an extensive narrative, with the epic stretch of the song providing a fitting venue for the band's fondness for building tensions and anticipated release. "This Is My House, This Is My Home" pays more homage to the indie pop side of things; a grand post-rock influenced piano and guitar melody creating atmospheric back story to a narrative of beautiful vocals and mystery, perfectly conveyed with a rush of instruments and explosions at its' end.

Then, with songs like "Quiet Little Voices," it's easy to understand where all the hype surrounding the band might have come from. This precision cut, catchy, and punch diced anthem is bound to wrap around the listener's head, squeezing any last drop of peace and calm with destructive quiet little voices...this particular one ripe with conviction, a Scottish accent, and backed by vocals that show their understanding of a proper pop song. An exhilarating chorus and pace dance with an underlying hook that stays to its' very end, then leaps into the song with a ferocity that sharpens a listener's attention, sudden and perfectly executed.

"Short Bursts," in its purposefully restrained frustrations, allows itself moments of powerful expression, while providing repressed pop lines of the verses in unbridled choruses. Although the song itself runs a tad too long for its' intentions to be properly conveyed, this epic journey holds its own appeal, although perhaps contrary to what the title intended...which seems to be a trend for We Were Promised Jetpacks. Packing plenty of classic indie rock strength and intensity with impeccable musicianship, These Four Walls is slightly too strained and formulated...something that is damningly unnecessary as the band really do hone a strength for pop music. - Laura Yan

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