We Were Promised Jet Packs
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Edinburgh four-piece We Were Promised Jetpacks have been one of the hottest tips on many tongues for some time now. Despite being together as a collective for over five years, the four band members have still barely reached the wrong side of twenty. Yet, for a band so exuberant in youth and enthusiasm, their songbook has a distinguished air of knowledge about it that suggests a much more worldlywise demeanour about its creators than first appearances would suggest.
Indeed, anyone present at the A&R fest that was their recent Great Escape show in the aptly-named Jam basement could be mistaken for thinking they were witnessing the first performance of the new U2, such was the clamour to get in, or anywhere near even, the tiny venue. Of course if this were just another unknown band tagged to a subsidiary of a major label the inherent cries of "manufactured!" and "puppets" would be heard for miles; that they're instead the latest proteges of the impressive Fat Cat roster allays any fears that these guys are mere imposters playing at being in a band for the cameras or worse.
Certainly, the time between forming the band and initially signing on the dotted line with their label has obviously proved to be well spent, as the well-oiled machine witnessed this evening hasn't just happened overnight. Instead, they've honed their songwriting skills to a level of intense near-perfection, whilst obviously growing in confidence both as artists and performers in the process.
It's a far cry from the almost apologetic bunch of teenagers that opened for Frightened Rabbit a couple of years ago, albeit still brimming with potential even back then. Singing guitarist Adam Thompson possesses a voice that could shatter glass yet still hold everyone's attention around him, even as the shards reigned down upon them. Michael Palmer's ferocious guitar-playing meanwhile is light years away from his Napoleon Dynamite-like appearance, visceral and omnipotent from the opening bars of 'It's Thunder And It's Lightning' whirlwind start to 'Short Bursts' pulsating climax. Although current long player These Four Walls contains many memorable moments, its undoubtedly in a live setting that We Were Promised Jetpacks come into their own, even taking requests midset, the improvised inclusion of 'Conductor' ensuring at least one punter went home extremely happy this evening. Even when Thompson introduces their best known song 'Quiet Little Voices' as "the hit so you can all go home afterwards if you wish", you sense a wry tongue-in-cheek smile on the inside to counteract his polite, modest exterior.
While its still early days yet, there's little doubt that We Were Promised Jetpacks have an extra special zest about them, and if their mission to convert new audiences in unchartered territories proves as astounding elsewhere as it did this evening in Nottingham, their future well-being is as good as assured.
Photo by Neil Thomas Douglas.
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