Album Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks – The Last Place You’ll Look EP

[Drag City; 2010]

Over the years, the word “rock” has taken many shapes. Clarification is always necessary when one says they like “rock” music. Classic rock? Post rock? Hard rock? There are just too many interpretations. It can get a little blurry. However, music is becoming more so narrowed down to a certain region. Scottish rock? Most of you are thinking Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand, the Fratellis, and hopefully not Snow Patrol. A band you should be thinking of from now on is We Were Promised Jetpacks.

The Last Place You’ll Look has more of a slower, charmed, and sweet sound than the band’s first (and only) LP, These Four Walls, which was released last year. The EP contains two songs originally on the full length: “Short Bursts” and “This Is My House, This Is My Home.” Both of these songs have a sense of ‘building’. For instance, the beginning of “Short Bursts” begins with a soft piano line, then midway through has choral/gang vocals, and finally returns to a repetition of the first slower movement. It’s a classical way of taming music, but it seems to work well for a relatively young band still exploring their sound.

If you remove these two reprised songs from the EP and look at it for the new material, you’ll find it’s relatively slower and dissonant while still possessing big sound. That goes for comparing it to the full length as well. However, in true We Were Promised Jetpacks form, the repetition of lyrics and phrases gives each song real emotional character and commonality with their previous material.

Overall, the EP is not for those expecting to hear the loud and catchy tunes from the full length. Bias always occurs if you’ve heard a band’s earlier material. Listen to it for what it is. If you’re willing to get rid of your expectations and step out of the box like this “Scottish rock” band did, it’s quite enjoyable.