On their latest album In the Pit of the Stomach, Scottish ambient rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks have taken an interesting turn from their last album. This album has a signature sound that is instantly recognizable as a WWPJ album, but with a different feel. Think along the lines of The Gaslight Anthem’s The ’59 Sound, Kings of Leon’s Because of the Times, and Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm.
In The Pit of The Stomach is much brighter than it is intense, and much more ambient than it is progressive, which changes the feel, though it is still easily identifiable. The album begins with an upbeat track, “Circles and Squares,” which starts with an intense yet melodic guitar intro that builds into different levels of intensity throughout. This song is great because of its dynamics, and is a great start to the album. It sets the tone for what is to come, with other tracks that, for the most part, stick to the melodic building sound found on this track.
Though this album is not as fast-paced as These Four Walls, second track “Medicine” is a combination of that sound with the melodic undertones that are characteristic of this album. Again, the feeling is created with excellent melodic guitars, which is a standard on this album, but with a catchy bass line and upbeat drums, a factor that is more consistent with the last album.
The predominantly instrumental track “Act on Impulse” is one of the most unique tracks, and sounds much like an Explosions in the Sky song. This track is probably the best use of a build, soften, build style on the record. It has a mellow feel throughout, followed by a capturing ending that features an excellent addition of strings.
The dynamic track, “Boy in the Backseat” stars with a harmonious intro, but is quickly brought into an upbeat, intense sound. As is true with many songs on this album, this song is incredibly dynamic, but this song is unique in that it changes pace throughout. You feel as though you don’t know what just hit you, which makes this track incredibly interesting.
Closer “Pear Tree” is the opposite of “Boy in the Backseat,” as it starts out with a more intense and somber tone, created by an intense and hard-hitting drum sound and heavy ambient guitars. The song takes a change of pace in the middle, with a somber guitar and room-style quiet vocals. The track then builds back into intense drums and guitars, this time with another marvelous string addition. The song creates a very epic feel, and serves as a good ending to the album.
We Were Promised Jetpacks have managed to create what feels like a musical story, featuring ups, downs, plot twists, and changes in pace. It is this factor that makes this album so unique, entrancing, and ahead of the game.