January 3, 2010

Best 0f 2009 : # 6 : We Were Promised Jetpacks / These Four Walls

Scottish band WWPJ delivered a debut this year that rivals in greatness the nearly flawless first releases by The Futureheads and Maximo Park. As a sucker for classic emo /angsty rock and all things from the UK, These Four Walls was probably bound to make my favorites of 2009 list.

Let me qualify myself by saying I was in a touring post-hardcore type band in the ealy '90s that played with a million bands in that scene, and you would think the last kind of record to woo me would be a throwback to a time where high water pants and back packs reigned supreme. So consider my weathered ears and how it would seem nearly impossible for a band whose style of music I know inside and out, win me over...and yet WWPJ has managed to do just that.

Once upon a time (a terrible little phrase there, I know!) all a band needed to do in order to come across as potent was write some decent songs, be able to play them well, and perform them in a way that left people feeling like a part of the song had moved into their body and made itself a home. So many modern bands use all sorts of trickery to buy themselves a following, the most common being guitar players owning 100 different pedals which more often than not are used to disguise the fact that they can't play their instrument.

We Were Promised Jet Packs approach playing their songs in an old fashioned way and while I haven't seen them live and really don't know this for certain, they don't sound like a band who uses a million gadgets on stage to sell their songs. The power comes from their no bullshit approach, something that sounds more like it comes from the gut and heart. I hate tossing out words like honest or sincere because if you are anything like me, these catch phrases make me gag a little (and I rarely believe it when I read a description in a review) but I am struggling to find a better way to express the direct punch of the songs on These Four Walls. I love a band who spills their insides out without sounding like they are whining or following a formula. These Four Walls is emotional without the cringe enducing melodrama of some of the more recent bands who have dabbled in this sound.

Yeah, maybe I am too old for records like this but then again, maybe these are the records that keep me young.

PS: My top 5 records of 2009 will be posted this week.....


  1. loving the list so far. coming in tomorrow to pick up some records.

    what band were you in that you speak of in this post.

  2. I've become convinced that this song was the blueprint for all that was great about The Futureheads:

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