REVIEW: WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS – THE LAST PLACE YOU’LL LOOK (2010)
I’ll admit I’m late to We Were Promised Jetpacks. Been slow at keeping up with Huw Stevens‘ stellar recommendations, of which I’m sure the Edinburgh outfit was one such. Yet thanks to a recent brilliant bill at Lincoln Hall, they eluded my ears no longer. Just before and afterwards, These Four Wallsworn down the proverbial cassette of iTunes through an endearing mix between Brand New‘s The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me with The Twilight Sad‘s Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters.
The Last Place You’ll Look happens to be an EP with 2/5 alternative versions of tracks off of the aforementioned LP. Thus, let’s tackle them first. “Short Bursts” has significantly dropped its tempo from a pounding beat to a slow, despondent dirge musically. Adam Thompson’s vocals, as well, as slid down a few levels even with “Sit back. Sit back. Loosen your ties, loosen your knots” carefully restrained. Orchestral strings are the only soaring, accompanying Adam’s tranquilly powerful vocals. This is not an alternative version, but a complete revision. “This Is My House, This Is My Home” was centered around the kick drum, yet a full, lushly echoing piano replaces it on alternate version. The track, a full 1 1/2 minutes longer than the prior, introduces a calming lone violin solo in the middle-not haphazardly-yet something that just remains gorgeously placed with a subtle trumpet not far behind.
Of the other 3/5s, the new tracks include an intermission akin to “A Half Built House.” The opener, “A Far Cry,” simply could replace any track on the LP without either change being noticed. The slow, tempered build into a colossal wall of sound mirrors the previously released pieces. Meanwhile, “With the Benefit of Hindsight” lacks the similarity with the rest, preferring a more violin centric sound. Meanwhile Michael Palmer’s “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”-esque guitar is the only harsh sound on The Last Place You’ll Look in an otherwise sonically organic soundscape.
For the unaccustomed, do not hesitate to pass along your first We Were Promised Jetpacks listen and move straight to the 2009 LP before returning to the EP. This convention runs contradictory to recent music industry mutterings, as well as declining music attention spans…but the way these releases debuted are the way they should be taken in. The Last Place You’ll Look is a short, anthemic reprieve until Adam Thompson and the rest of the Scots can queue up a true sophomore follow-up.