We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling

We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling

One thing that happens in the music industry with some regularity is that bands tend to release albums in the autumn, rather than in the summer months. Looking over the half dozen or so upcoming releases presently occupying my in tray and wondering which of these I wanted to write about I picked on Unravelling despite its release not happening until October. Why?  For various reasons it’s an album I decided I can write something about now, such as its sleeve artwork, which is the best op-art album sleeve I’ve seen for several years. Then there’s the fact that the Edinburgh, Scotland band are beginning their 2014 tour next month (UK dates first) so anyone reading this that wants to see them, book those tickets now. We Were Promised Jetpacks aren’t doing any shows within easy traveling distance for me (the nearest is about 100 miles away) and if their live show is half as good as the Unravelling album I am going to feel like I’ve missed out on a really good gig. Plus I could get into a discussion about why there isn’t any such word as ‘ravelling’ or, if there is, no one ever uses it.

The more usual opposite of ‘unravelling’ is I decided ‘winding’  and I had a think about what the word could represent as an album title. Stories unravel. As can events and occasionally, knitted clothing. It’s a word that in its most literal meaning represents falling apart, a situation or a tale revealed. It also has connotations of collapsing, of an object or idea slipping into disuse or to its inevitable conclusion.  Good title choice then? If there is a hint of fatalism in their album’s title, We Were Promised Jetpacks music contains a definable resolve at its centre, one that avoids very deeply felt sentiments, Emo type confessionalism or the narrowed cynicism of some of their  contemporaries. This isn’t to say that they’re all bluster and no substance (a lyric sheet would prove useful) although they certainly aren’t in a reflective or self pitying mood. And they are identifiably Scots, with Adam Thompson’s accented vocal leaving little doubt about their origins, a trait they share with Twin Atlantic and The Twilight Sad, among others. After a decade of making music,  Unravelling represents the five piece at perhaps the peak of their abilities as a band and on the strength of this We Were Promised Jetpacks are audibly staking a claim for their position as the must hear Scots band of 2015, probable heirs to Snow Patrol and Travis, as able to hold their audience as Biffy Clyro and as committed to rocking out as Aerogramme were a decade ago.

It’s quite possible to hear traces of both those bands on the 11 tracks that make up Unravelling, or am I hearing a particularly Scots brand of modern Rock that has developed in the last decade or so? Snow Patrol are undeniably a big influence on Scots music and before anyone starts drawing a line back to Slint via Mogwai I would say that bands from north of the English border have had the opportunity to do this in a Caledonian music scene that hasn’t got to rely on selling records and tickets amongst the Sassenachs any more – not many English dates in the 2014 Jetpack tour schedule I notice – but that may change as with an album as well produced, intricately performed and just plain listenable as Unravelling is, We Were Promised Jetpacks are giving us one very memorable 40 or so minutes of music. And as for the album title, I expect that if I asked any of the Jetpacks why they chose it they might just say it was a word they chose at random, and that’s all. I also do this.