One of the finest surprises of last year was the release of We Were Promised Jetpacks' debut album, These Four Walls. With a disc that exhibits lifting melodies and popping beats, this Glasgow four-piece became a band you had to urge your friends to hear.
It wasn't just some simple, lightweight recommendation—like, "Hey, if you like bands who sing in Scottish accents, you'll like this a lot, too!" No, this was more like, "Drop everything—you must hear this now."
Not many bands can do that. But that's the kind of magic We Were Promised Jetpacks boasts.
We Were Promised Jetpacks
We Were Promised Jetpacks performs Sunday, February 21, at Hailey's Club, Denton.
The band began in Edinburgh in 2003, consisting of friends who decided to form a band—rather than simply being four guys who wanted to form a band and figured they'd work the friend part out later.
And maybe that's why These Four Walls doesn't sound rushed; upon listening to the album, it's clear that the band spent its time crafting these songs. And that's certainly refreshing in a day and age when half-baked bands get taken out of the oven and fed to the world. If this band put out something when labels were trying to find the next Bloc Party and Arctic Monkeys, chances are good that We Were Promised Jetpacks would have been lost in the shuffle.
That much could've been possible regardless: MySpace still gets a bad rap for bringing the world terrible artists who formed four weeks ago and got a record deal two weeks ago, but don't count the site out as a farm system for mediocrity.
"MySpace was sort of like a booking service for us at the start," Lackie says. "It was where we got all our gig offers through promoters in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and it's also apparently the way in which FatCat found out about us, so it's been massive for us."
Being on the FatCat label and being a band from Scotland, comparisons to fellow Scottish labelmates Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad abound. Adding to those comparisons is the fact that We Were Promised Jetpacks toured the States with those bands last fall. But Lackie sees their support as a good thing: "Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad were big bands for us before we were lucky enough to get signed to the same label as them and tour with them too," he says.
And though those bands are also from Scotland, don't think We Were Promised Jetpacks were tight with the other two from conception.
"We didn't know any of them at all until we got to play with Frightened Rabbit at a club night in Glasgow a few years ago," Lackie points out.
As for influences that went into an album as powerful as These Four Walls, that's a bit hazier to point at.
"Influences are always a really hard question," Lackie says. "I don't think there's bands that we're trying to sound like or imitate, but the first bands that we all agreed on years ago were Kings of Leon's earlier albums and Biffy Clyro's earlier stuff. Nowadays we're all really big fans of The National—they are fantastic."
As for a second album, well, Lackie says things are in motion, but a release date is not set.
"At the moment we've got a few songs that we think are pretty much ready to take to the studio, but with regards to a time, I have no idea," he says. "We're hoping to write some new songs over summer and hopefully [get] the album recorded later this year. So, if I was gonna guess, I'd say sometime early next year."
One can definitely hope for something as good—if not better—in what the band unleashes next.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.