We Were Promised Jetpacks | Unravelling (Fatcat)

unravellingThis is a wonderful album that further expands on WWPJ’s sound of guitar swells and pop hooks.

For those not familiar with We Were Promised Jetpacks, they are label mates to the more well-known Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad. These three form the triumvirate of dour indie Scottish shoegaze-influenced rock. The Twilight Sad skew more toward the darker side and bombard you with bleakness and walls of sound, whereas Frightened Rabbit are on the more poppish side of things but still hit you with a ton of bricks from the proverbial wall of sound. We Were Promised Jetpacks are comfortably in the middle, effectively blend full sound with pop sensibilities. WWPJ’s first two albums received a significant amount of praise; thankfully, Unravelling will garner even more.

Unravelling is a wonderful album that further expands on WWPJ’s sound of guitar swells and pop hooks. Sonically, it is more in tune with their debut, 2009’s These 4 Walls. This release does strip away some of the incredibly dense layers of sound that permeated 2011’s In the Pit of the Stomach; thankfully, this does not lessen the effect in any way.

Those who loved either of the earlier albums will love Unravelling. A lot. WWPJ has matured a bit in the last three years. Along with a healthy sense of certainty, that maturity shows, as the band is able to take the best parts of what preceded and blend them into an incredibly enjoyable and never dull 50-plus minutes. The band continues to hit with a massive sound, yet is unafraid to strip that away for certain moments of minimalism, allowing listeners to catch their breath and re-ground themselves.

The production is exceptionally good, with the songs exploding in your ears. The better production also helps showcase the band’s musicianship, which certainly has come along in the last five years. Lyrically, the album carries a loose concept of lives and relationships falling apart and how you carry on after. Yet this is not a bleak album, ripe with depression; far from it, actually. One gets this huge, uplifting aura when listening. The songs play off each other with gorgeous build-ups and crescendos that elicit the listener’s emotion.

All of these are things you want in a band. You want them to grow, to improve, and never rest on their laurels. This is the best album of the band’s career so far, and will be a candidate for my album of the year. Standout tracks include “Safety in Numbers,” “Peace Sign,” “Peaks and Troughs,” and the unreal “Peace of Mind.” B+ | Mike Koehler

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply