This week saw the release on Fat Cat of the long awaited second long player from We Were Promised Jetpacks – ‘In The Pit of the Stomach’.
I’ve been following these guys for over 5 years now and if there’s one overriding impression I have of them during that time then it’s their relentless drive to keep things moving forward. So, in that regard, ITPOTS has a lot to live up. Fortunately, the record delivers on previous promises.
The result is a massive sounding rock record with walls of guitars and pounding drums. In fact, that’s clear from the off – as soon as you stick the CD in the player a series of massive power chords burst forth from the speakers.
It would be quite wrong to say that the volume never dips below 11 thereafter but that’s still the overall impression you’re left with. This is a LOUD record.
The opening trilogy of ‘Circles and Squares’, single ‘Medicine’ and ‘Through the Dirt and the Gravel’ just leaves you breathless. Some respite arrives in the shape of the free download ‘Act on Impulse’ one of the best tracks on the record based as it is around an insistent ascending bass line rather than the wall of sound.
Further highlights include ‘Picture of Health’, in many ways the lightest track on the record which nevertheless delivers a satisfying climax of guitars, and ‘Sore Thumb’ which wouldn’t have been out of place on this year’s Mogwai LP.
All of these songs see WWPJ pushing their envelope but anyone looking for some slightly retro Jetpacks thrills need look further than the edgy guitars of the aforementioned opener ‘Circles and Squares’ and ‘Boy In The Backseat.’
The record’s got a slightly unusual running order as it builds towards a climax featuring two of its best tracks right at the end, something more normal for a live show than for a record. ‘Human Error’ is a return to the frantic energy of the earlier songs and it leads straight into final track ‘Pear Tree’. Driven along by almost tribal drums, ‘Pear Tree’ is the LP’s single finest moment and on a par with the first LP’s highlight ‘Keeping Warm’.
For all that, it’s a record that I still have slight reservations about. The main one of these is that whilst the monolithic guitar sound on much of the LP may give the record its epic feel, at times its dominance perhaps dulls the overall impact.
Nonetheless ITPOTS is undoubtedly a further step forward for Jetpacks and, IMHO, the best LP released by the former Fat Cat trilogy bands of WWPJ, Frightened Rabbit and the Twilight Sad at least since WWPJ’s own debut in 2009.
Buy ‘In The Pit of the Stomach’ here.
A video from the LP:
We Were Promised Jetpacks head off on a short UK jaunt starting with the Liquid Room in Edinburgh tomorrow (6th October) before heading over to North America at the end of the month for 3 weeks.