Why is it that bands from overseas are always so much cooler than bands here in the States? Is it the water? Air? Attitude? Whatever the reason, the only things that truly matter are the body of work and the music. In the Pit of the Stomach, the latest entry from Scottish band We Were Promised Jetpacks, is no different. This album is another stake in the heart of an industry where it’s easier to be heard and harder to get noticed, but right now this band is doing both. The band’s debut, These Four Walls, was a disconnected prelude to this album. There was some serious promise on that disc, and the greatest aspect of their new album is that they’ve found a way to harness their live energy and conceal it in 10 songs of power riffs and raw emotion.
This band isn’t trying to be emo, punk, or indie; they just are who they are. From the first cymbal crashes on album opener “Circles and Squares”, they have your attention. Vocalist Adam Thompson’s voice often sounds as if he’s standing across the room from the microphone, but somehow it’s never overshadowed by the rest of the band.
Current single “Medicine” features lyrics that give its title credence, as Thompson sings, “I’ve torn through the pages/Of the years I’ve wasted/I’ve stolen all my stories/Just copied and pasted.” It’s like he’s asking for the stuff. And despite the somber tone, the peppy bass line surprisingly keeps this song on the upbeat. Then there’s “Act On Impulse”, one of their finest tracks to date, working with an intro that evokes as much anticipation as waiting for this album did.
So, is In the Pit of the Stomach a great album? No, but it’s an improvement, and it reveals a band with plenty room to grow. In the meantime, these Jackpacks will continue coasting.
Essential Tracks: “Act on Impulse”, “Medicine” and “Circles and Squares”