We Were Promised Jetpacks - The Last Place You'll Look EP
Record Label: FatCat Records
Release Date: March 9, 2010
Hindsight is hard to learn, and it is something we must learn. Nobody is born with the ability to analyze their past. On the other hand, the easiest phrase in any language is, “I think you should…” We love nothing more than to offer up suggestion after trainwreck suggestion to our dearest friends and family. It’s like when someone yells at a horror movie. Sure the answer is easy when you’re sitting in a safe audience with a big tub of popcorn hiding your erect penis. But jump into that abandoned warehouse at dusk and see if you know which door not to open.
This unforgiving learning slope – curve? This isn’t a math website – is why most EPs featuring songs with a modifier like “alternative version” fail so readily. I think it’s safe to say We Were Promised Jetpacks took a risk on The Last Place You’ll Look EP, which contains Xanaxed versions of the band’s jittery post-Scot-punk. A formerly uproarious rock song like “Short Bursts” loses not only its ratatat punches, but also a minute of its runtime. Playing both versions back to back creates a strange sensation: all at once I want this slow, quiet version to create a refreshing lull on These Four Walls, and yet I want the rapidfire movements of the older version to rouse this sleepy little compilation. But I will say, when Adam Thompson sings, “Sit back / Loosen your ties / And loosen your knots” over an achingly beautiful violin, it seems right. Whether this was the right way all along is a moot point, because at this moment it works.
And despite a new song called “With the Benefit of Hindsight,” I believe WWPJ subscribe to the notion that what is good now is good enough. My intention is not to downplay memories, nostalgia, photo albums, etc. I simply mean that what you feel now, even about something in the past, is not a past tense sort of thing. Even though past events are set in stone, our memories are much more fluid. One day “This Is My House, This Is My Home” sounds perfect as an elegiac piano ballad that explodes like a Bluebonnet in a Texas spring, and the next it is contentedly calm, as it is here on The Last Place You’ll Look. While the drums may boom with a certain Revolutionary War-style drive, it never becomes a rock song. Each version has a proper place. And even though the original song was one of the most endearing, this murkier rendition creates new emotions entirely. Whereas the old version pushes us out of the trapped confines of, ahem, those four walls, this new version seemingly proves that what’s inside isn’t so bad. We aren’t allowed to leave but we don’t really need to.
And you know, sure, this is clearly a review written by a mess of a human being. But the best part is, I’m not sure if I felt like this before the EP or after. I’m inclined to think that it unlocked something, which, sure, is super cliché and I can almost hear your gags from here. I wholly admit to the lackluster analysis in this review, and I understand why people hate such drivel. But to me, the drivel that flows from a cathedral-sized chorus like the one on new song “A Far Cry” is the only thing that still matters. I have no idea if this is good music made by good musicians. The only thing that’s clear right now, and maybe will ever be clear, is that I can only know what I want from this very moment. After that, it’s all up for interpretation.
Recommended If You Like: Frightened Rabbits, The Twilight Sad, Biffy Clyro
Eh, I want to like these guys because of their name, but I've tried a few times and the vocalist's voice is just hard for me to get into. I think the Scottish accent sounds cool, but his voice just...isn't that great. Maybe eventually it will click for me.