We really don’t know what Jetpacks the Four Walls guys are talking about in their debut album. The Scottish rock outfit don’t quite fit the boxed description of a Brit-inspired rock-alternative band (though the influence shows), or the constraints of verse-chorus-verse pop song structures (although their songs do sound quite catchy and infectious.) We Were Promised Jetpacks careens through the walls that define what rock, pop, and indie are, and the results are fresh, exhilarating and fun.
The first song, “It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning,” starts off on a jogging rhythm, that prepares you for an album that’s built on a lively pace. From a jogging pace, it rocks out near the end, with the vocalist screaming “And it’s thunder, and it’s lightning! You’re body was black and blue!” This song structure—jogging pace building to momentum—is something that will hardly go unnoticed as you go through the entire record.
The next song, “Ships with Holes Will Sink,” continues the frenetic yet non-panicky sound of the band. The simple, quick chord progressions, and fast tempo of the drumbeats will make you feel as though somebody was chasing you, with only the vocalist’s endearing voice singing the lyrics giving you calm. When the crescendo hits somewhere towards the end of the song, it becomes rock and roll with not a space for this thingimajig called calm. The rest of the songs, “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” “Conductor,” “A Half Built House,” and “This Is My House, This Is My Home,” demonstrates the aforementioned style. Which is could be any of the two: The Four Walls could simply be demonstrating consistency in style or they could be demonstrating dependency on formula.
In any case, the album's lead single, “Quiet, Little Voices” proves to be its best song. There is definitely nothing quiet about it. The song just bursts forth with so much energy, as all the instruments and vocals converge to yell out “quiet little voices!” as if it were a mantra of sorts. From the peak that was “Quiet, Little Voices,” the album’s energy level slowly descends until finally “An Almighty Thud,” the last song of the album, mellows out with the last notes and chords, that are most somber in the album.
WORDS: GELO GONZALES
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