Scottish quartet We Were Promised Jetpacks have the intriguing ability to simultaneously pound your eardrums with a massive, speaker-shattering fury while still retaining an air of playful ambiance. The band’s second studio album, In the Pit of the Stomach, is no exception. Filled with rapid-fire drums and deep guitar swells, Jetpacks’ latest release isn’t anything you haven’t already heard from the band, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less entertaining.
With tracks that seamlessly transition from quiet, single-string lines to a flurry of high-gain distortion, it can be hard to keep up with the pace. Tracks like “Through the Dirt and the Gravel” exemplify this sonic dichotomy, with an easy-going, breezy chorus reminiscent of The Strokes. However, the verses switch it up to distorted mayhem, with drummer Darren Lackie pounding along with lightning-speed rhythm.
The band does bring it down on some songs though, such as “Sore Thumb,” which somehow comes off relaxing in a weirdly distorted way. While some songs like album opener “Circles and Squares” focus in on the group’s heavier style, the band never goes over into the realm of metal. Even at their heaviest, the guitars still sound spacious, allowing tracks to breathe more and not sound like a storm of electrified rage.
The album isn’t without flaws, though. The reverb-rich guitars can border on monotonous after awhile, especially when songs like “Act On Impulse” begin with a two-minute instrumental that repeats the same melody over and over. With the exception of the tiresome nature of some of the tracks, In the Pit of the Stomach surrounds you with billowing sound waves and will perhaps make up for that pesky lack of a jetpack.
Ian Birnam is the lead music critic.