Gig review: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Glasgow

We Were Promised Jetpacks played material from their new album. Picture: Ian Rutherford
We Were Promised Jetpacks played material from their new album. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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DESPITE the turbo-powered name, We Were Promised Jetpacks’ sound has always seemed curiously earthbound, more given to dour, heads-down guitar-scrubbing and intense vocals than sky-scraping tunes.

We Were Promised Jetpacks

Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow


But topping the bill of the Electric Honey sessions at the Kelvingrove Bandstand, playing material from their third, latest release, Unravelling, the Glasgow-based quintet certainly found the lift-off button.

Live, Sean Smith’s bass leaps to the fore and locks in a funky death grip with Darren Lackie’s drums, freeing the others to explore the dynamics of the songs, while the addition of Stuart McGachan on keyboards brings a melodic shading and detail to tracks like Moral Compass and Safety in Numbers.

Singer Adam Thompson’s earnest burr is still the emotional epicentre of the band, and lead guitarist Michael Palmer still finds opportunities to scour his guitar strings, but by loosening their collective musical corset, they now inhabit songs rather than surfing a cascade of guitar noise.

Thompson’s lyrical focus on his struggle with anger, doubt and relationships may have seemed out of place in Kelvingrove’s doucely quaint park setting, but earlier acts such as Mayor Stubbs, Finn LeMarinel and Harry and the Hendersons seemed at home at this bijou festival.

The warm weather, plus a steady supply of cider and ice cream, combined with their folky stylings to create a woozy fug of bonhomie - one that the evening’s bands, Wooden Box, Aviators and Fatherson, inhaled as their own. But angst carried the day for Edinburgh’s We Were Promised Jetpacks. They had a blast. So did we.

Seen on 09.08.15