#5 on the 2009 Musical Advent Calendar
These Four Walls by We Were Promised Jetpacks
Making this list has made me feel at times that I should have started a separate list full of bands with really bad or difficult names. But it’s rare you have a band name with a blatant punctuation error in it. The name of the fifth-ranked band in the calendar is a full sentence, lacking a period at the end. But for what they lack in punctuation, We Were Promised Jetpacks more than make up for in sheer rocking power.
I like to put this album on in the car when I’m trying to get my 2nd wind or to rally for a long night ahead. Singing these songs at the top of your lungs while driving is one of the best ways to pump yourself up. It’s also one of the best ways to blow out your voice, so be careful. Adam Thompson, the band’s lead singer, sings these powerful songs with such force, you can’t help but get excited to be alive.
The video shown above is for the fantastic “Quiet Little Voices.” I’ve heard this song used in lots of places, so I’m beginning to feel that it’s a little played out, but it’s the only video available. This song was part of a Major League Baseball Network commercial. You know you’ve hit your saturation point when…
We Were Promised Jetpacks are Scottish. They do make you think a little about the more rocking songs from a band that grew up not too far from them, across the channel over in Ireland. But where U2 provides a lot of variety, mixing quiet introspective songs with power ballads and hard rocking songs, WWPJ pretty much leave the dial pushed to the limit from start to finish. There are a couple breathers on the album, but they’re short lived. Put this album on and you should be prepared to turn it up loud.
These Four Walls is We Were Promised Jetpacks’ debut album. Given that I called the Rural Alberta Advantage, who’s debut album Hometowns was #6 on the calendar, the best new band of 2009, I feel like I need to explain why I ranked These Four Walls higher in the countdown, but didn’t give WWPJ the honor of “best new band.” It’s fairly simple: they made a great album, but I have not seen any evidence that they can do it again. With the RAA, their live show had numerous new, unrecorded songs that were quite good and made me excited about their next release, whenever that happens. But when I saw WWPJ earlier this year, they may have played one new song. I say “may” because I honestly can’t recall if they did or not, so clearly it wasn’t very good if they had played one. Granted, the band was the opening band, and while they played a great set, they weren’t given the time to fill it up with untested songs. I can only work with what I know.
But my fingers are crossed, because I absolutely love this album and will be listening to it for many years to come.
Tomorrow: this year’s Disintegration.
6. Hometowns by the Rural Alberta Advantage
7. Velvet Underground & Nico: “Record Club” by Beck
8. March of the Zapotec/Holland by Beirut
9. There is no Enemy by Built to Spill
10. Dark Was The Night, a Red Hot Compilation
11. The Mountain by the Heartless Bastards
12. Creaturesque by Throw Me The Statue
13. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band by Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
14. Horehound by The Dead Weather
15. Promenade by Grand Hallway
16. Grand by Matt & Kim
17. Blood Bank EP by Bon Iver
18. Fever Ray by Fever Ray
19. Tell ’Em What Your Name Is by Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears
20. Mo Beauty by Alec Ounsworth
21. Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants
22. Noble Beast by Andrew Bird
23. Hungry Bird by Clem Snide
24. Actor by St. Vincent
25. Elvis Perkins in Dearland by Elvis Perkins in Dearland
26. XX by the XX
27. Grrr… by Bishop Allen
28. Keep It Hid by Dan Auerbach
29. It’s Blitz! by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
30. Beware by Bonnie “Prince” Billie
31. Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear