We Were Promised Jetpacks - The Last Place You'll Look (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

We Were Promised Jetpacks

The Last Place You'll Look (2010)


We Were Promised Jetpacks executed ripe melodies through nimble rhythms and a controlled sort of frenzy on their 2009 full-length, the excellent These Four Walls, that proved they could be far greater than the mere sum of their Scottish homeland influences. Not to mention they deliberately broke away from those influences--the hallowed folk of Frightened Rabbit and the noisy melancholy of the Twilight Sad--to stake out their own territory. The band wasn't one to rest on their laurels either, however, issuing this holdover EP early this year that features three new songs and re-workings of two tracks from Walls.

The direction they take on these five tracks is one that's more of a melodic, vocal-heavy post-rock thing. The band puts a greater focus on building up, breaking down quickly and offering expansive climaxes in between, yet ensuring that the songs remain as hook-heavy as the Scots have always been prone to do. "A Far Cry" is ushered in by Adam Thompson getting to its hook curtly and quickly, and the track is eventually taken through soaring, symphonic stop-starts, but as it all happens within five minutes, not a moment feels wasted.

"Short Bursts" is re-imagined in a more measured context, with Thompson more deliberate in his delivery and the space filled up with xylophone and string accompaniment. And instead of striking a similarly frantic nerve, it's again taken into a monolithic but precise crescendo; already the band seems to be repeating motives, but it works, so it's okay. "The Walls Are Wearing Thin" is a mere interlude, but the other new song, "With the Benefit of Hindsight," is blessed with more strings and a little bit of brass as the band construct a busy, nearly orchestral sound that feels like it should cap off a Decemberists album.

Closing with a solemn rendition of "This Is My House, This Is My Home" that begins as though written for solo piano, We Were Promised Jetpacks prove that they can provide sweeping, moving epics in bite-size time just as well as they can wield seismic hooks through relentless, caustic energy. Whether this is a sign of things for their next LP or a mere experiment, it's a compelling, successful one at that.

A Far Cry