We Promised Jetpacks / Fiskur – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh – Tuesday 21st November 2017
Tuesday night’s sold out show at Sneaky Pete’s was not only We Were Promised Jetpacks’ first Scottish show of the year but was also probably the smallest show they’ve played in the capital in a decade. Explicitly set up to showcase their new material, no fewer than 10 new songs were aired, a few of which had debuted last year at La Belle Angele, which by my reckoning pretty much totals an entire album’s worth of new songs.
What was striking about hearing all the material in one go was the diversity. Certainly, there’s links back to ‘Unravelling’ but precious little to tie the band in 2017 to the band that made ‘These Four Walls’ eight years ago.
By far the most striking of the new songs is the final, totallyfuckingmental, tune with which they also closed last year’s show (known then as ‘Repeating Patterns’). It’s far and away the most frantic thing they’ve ever played with Adam alternating between a falsetto delivery and some very Black Francis-esque screaming, all the while Mike’s fingers a blur as they move up and down his fretboard.
Equally striking is ‘The More I Sleep’ effectively a bar-room ballad complete with bluesy riff and melody, albeit it’s overlaid with some typical guitar ferocity.
Earlier in the set, there’s some genuinely pretty guitars and there are undoubtedly passages of post-rock at other times. Meanwhile ‘Make It Easier’ might not quite be in the same league of lunacy as ‘Repeating Patterns’ but it has its own unhinged vibe as well.
In contrast there’s only a handful of older tunes included, disappointingly none from the last LP. ‘Sore Thumb’ inspires a brief, micro mosh pit (participants – 3!) whilst ‘Short Bursts’ is massive – yet still manages only to serve as a build up to ‘Repeating Patterns’.
On this evidence We Were Promised Jetpacks remain true to their constantly evolving nature with no compromise in sight in favour of a more commercial sound.
The show had been opened by Fiskur who turned out to be the artist formerly known as Ross Clark. On his own the first couple of numbers featured one guitar and some subtle loops but as the set progressed Ross brought his band-in-a-box into service creating a fine old racket in the process.
As commented all those years ago, he has a fine voice but, on this showing at least, he sounds little like Micah P Hinson. I’m definitely curious to hear more of his songs.
1. The Space Between Us 2. Don’t Try To Kid Yourself 3. When I Know More 4. Time and Again 5. Sore Thumb 6. Make It Easier 7. The Light Won’t Be On 8. This Is My House, This Is My Home 9. Human Error 10. I Told You Not To Listen 11. The More I Sleep 12. Dark Horse 13. Short Bursts 14. Repeating Patterns
*Apparently none of the new tunes have official names yet but my choices above on a couple of songs reflect what they were called last year. Not sure if the song called ‘Brother’ from last time was played on Tuesday or not.