Published Jun 26, 2009There's something in the loch water of Scotland, and no, I don't mean any monsters. Over the last couple years, bands like the Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit have confirmed that the region of Glasgow has found its own sound built on driving rhythms, shimmering guitar textures and uplifting anthems sung in a deep, authentic brogue. Now comes We Were Promised Jetpacks, a young band instilled with the same passion and dramatic potency. Like their countrymen, they're also signed to FatCat, which is cornering the market on this scene. These Four Walls is a determined first album by a band that know full well Echo & the Bunnymen would have surpassed U2 had they been Glaswegians, and Adorable were robbed of Oasis' glory. Where WWPJ differ most is in their pacing, which often runs at breakneck tempos that gives them a sense of chaos. The melodies climb to mountainous peaks, and on a blistering track like "Quiet Little Voices," this hurried approach gives them thrilling edge. As such a reflective band, they're wise enough to slow it down once in a while to allow themselves to breathe, like on the eight-minute "Keeping Warm," which includes some glockenspiel in its slow ascent. These Four Walls is a confident and meticulous first album.
What's been happening in Scotland the last few years to make it produce three bands like yourselves, Frightened Rabbit and the Twilight Sad?
Guitarist Michael Palmer: I don't know! I guess Scotland's been producing bands for ages. Recently though, there seems to be a post-Libertines backlash of music that's "honest."
It's interesting because you all have this really gorgeous yet brooding, atmospheric music and on top are these heavy Scottish brogues. Is it just pure coincidence or is there some kind of movement going on?
There's definitely a "sing in your own accent" kind of movement going on, which is good. It sounds a bit more personal. To those who have the same kind of accent you don't think twice about it, but I guess it must be weird for non-Scots!
A lot of Scottish acts don't use their accents, which often gets them mistaken for English or American. Was that a conscious decision for you or did it just come out that way?
It just kind of happened! It's quite a conscious decision for Adam [Thompson] to sing in his own accent. But putting on a fake Scottish accent is no different to a fake American or English accent. I wouldn't say that those bands are ridiculed, but I think they are starting to sound a little dated as a result of that. (Fat Cat)