We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

We Were Promised Jetpacks

These Four Walls (2009)

Fat Cat

Check the reviews for We Were Promised Jetpacks' These Four Walls and across the board you'll stumble over comparisons to labelmates and fellow countrymen Frightened Rabbit and the Twilight Sad (admitted influences). Perhaps it's due to the jarringly thick Scottish drawl of vocalist/guitarist Adam Thompson; maybe it's the modern post-punk nature of an amble rhythm that pulses along WWPJ's lively anthems. Whatever it is, WWPJ have coalesced it into a strong and pleasing debut in These Four Walls.

It could be just the yelping, earnest wonder of Thompson's voice, but oddly enough there are times he actually resembles the Scottish counterpart to Against Me!'s Tom Gabel post-Eternal Cowboy. But unlike Gabel's vehicle, WWPJ's enthusiastic, nimble approach can better bear restraint and foreboding measures while retaining some modesty in more confident, college radio-tailored sing-alongs. That's not to say the latter is a bad thing; in fact, they provide some of Walls' standout tracks, with "Quiet Little Voices," "Roll Up Your Sleeves" and "Ships with Holes Will Sink" providing the band's familiar guitar tone and a bounty of hooks.

But the former remain some of Walls' most ambitious songwriting, as "Conductor" and the eight-minute "Keeping Warm" infuse post-rock elements with guitar layering and chimes making up the carefully nuanced compositions. It's a subtle influence, sure, but it goes a long way in expanding the band's sound and keeping the palette refreshing.

Still, one other trick remains up the band's sleeve until closer "An Almighty Thud," an acoustic but paced number that resembles a slightly sped-up take on Death Cab for Cutie's "A Lack of Color." It tightens the emotion into a more taut, tense form that leaves the listener wanting more as the album closes. In the good way.

These Four Walls drifts and stumbles at certain points, but largely remains a captivating and enticing listen. Solid, solid debut.

Ships with Holes Will Sink
Roll Up Your Sleeves
Quiet Little Voices