by: Jamie Milton
The avalanche of intelligent, romantic Scottish songwriters won't stop coming down, crushing any pitiful attempts from every other alternative rock act attempting to write a heartfelt tale of a love connection. At one point the Scottish dialect was a negative factor with rock music - this point being during the time of The Fratellis and The View's short uprising. Now we sit here on the edge of our seats, preparing for the next passionate male songwriter to bring us to tears. This is in no small part due to the rise of Frightened Rabbit, a small-time quartet from Selkirk who finally won the critics and music fanatics among us with the release of 'The Midnight Organ Fight'. The close-knit community they make no hiding of being part of now offers us We Were Promised Jetpacks - a band whose debut album has finally come together after years of being together, winning battle of the bands competitions and waiting for something to give.
The comparison with Frightened Rabbit stops just about there. Although both divulge in gently-spoken, warm and fuzzy lyrical content, We Were Promised Jetpacks maintain more of an edge to their sound, with more fire in their bellies. Adam Thompson and co. keep the rage and the furore down to a minimum as much as possible, but until 'Roll Up Your Sleeves'' apt refrain of "stay calm...stay calm" there is little, well...staying calm. This works in their favour - creating a metaphorical divide between them and contemporaries and lunging us into the very depths of their brash attitude. If you find the opening section of the album a bit thick and full-frontal, find refuge in the likes of 'Conductor' and closer 'An Almighty Thud', the latter dominated by carefully-crafted acoustics, think Fionn Regan with less potentially off-putting individual traits. The other is a perfectly timed entry into into the record, a gentle respite from the break-neck spirit so evident from the off. This firey vehemence is then rediscovered in 'Quiet Little Voices', a rapidly-delivered gust of intensity, delivered with that ever-pleasing dialect of Thompson's.
Perhaps it is the vocals that makes 'These Four Walls' so refreshing. Even a line as simple as "something's happened in the attic - we both know I'm not going up there", when delivered with the kind of intensity and concentration that Thompson gives, just becomes a completely different package to what it would be when casually sung by the likes of Chris Martin or Thom Yorke. The art of emotional songwriting has taken a significant turn and as the title may suggest, 'These Four Walls'', although not entirely ground breaking, has the purpose is of building on an already established foundation of songwriting which future talents, Scottish or not, will need to follow page by page.
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