We Were Promised Jetpacks - In The Pit Of The Stomach
Expansive and brimming with ideas yet raw and immediate, the second album from We Were Promised Jetpacks is something quite special indeed. Managing to balance the frenetic rock of lead single 'Medicine' with the more meditative soundscapes of 'Sore Thumb', In The Pit Of The Stomach consistently excites with not one note put wrong resulting in one of the year's finest albums.
Kicking off with a breathless trio, including the superb ‘Medicine’ which we’ve already waxed lyrical about here, that showcase both the foursome’s knack for a riff as well as their assured musicianship, it’s the final track of the three that starts to give you an idea of how ambitious their sophomore effort will be. ‘Through The Dirt And The Gravel’ starts off with a heavy bass line then layers on guitars and drums, proceeding to fluctuate through tempos as the focus shifts from instrument to instrument to craft something that sounds practically alive, developing right in front of our ears. It’s quite magnificent and it leads neatly into what could be considered act two.
Comprised of subtler moments that favour gorgeous extended intros, each track provides its own selling point, be it the foreboding, dark guitars of ‘Hard To Remember’ or the delicious guitar crescendo towards the end of ‘Picture Of Health’. It’s ‘Sore Thumb’ that beguiles the most though. Largely instrumental, even bringing the vocals in a layer under the instruments when they do come along to give them an otherworldly quality, it’s five minutes of sublime music as the guitars caress the eardrums before exploding into a epic swirl in the final bridge.
As the album starts to bring the curtain down, it returns to the snappier, guitar-led efforts of the opening trio but never once settles for your standard indie rock. ‘Boy In The Backseat’ sees lead singer Adam Thompson’s delivery become more visceral and harsh, with a focus on snatched lines of lyrics, while ‘Human Error’ (the shortest and arguably most conventional track) is three minutes of punchy rock with a superb, rolling drumbeat. Rounding it all off is the softer ‘Pear Tree’ that isn’t afraid to strip things down completely two minutes in with Thompson’s vocals seemingly delivered from a different studio over a gentle guitar plucking, slowly building back up component by component to give the album the soaring, pulsating finale it completely deserves.
It may sound like gushing, but it takes something special to stand out so vividly from the crowd and In The Pit Of The Stomach is precisely that. Bold, accomplished and brilliant, it sees We Were Promised Jetpacks deliver on the promise of their debut and follow-up EP and then some. If you like music at its most thrilling, you need this album.