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We Were Promised Jetpacks - The More I Sleep The Less I Dream (Album Review)

Thursday, 27 September 2018 Written by Graeme Marsh

Album four from Edinburgh's We Were Promised Jetpacks is, in their own words, about going back to basics. Since 2014’s ‘Unravelling’ they’ve changed management and label, both potential pitfalls, while recording was undertaken in the US with producer Jonathan Low. Running alongside these changes on ‘The More I Sleep The Less I Dream’ is the switch back to their original four man configuration and something approximating the style of their early releases.

‘Unravelling’ was an excellent exercise in reined in noise. It was a tempered version of the racket contained within their previous collection, ‘In The Pit Of The Stomach’, and its most striking element was the appearance of an anthemic band without anthemic choruses. It’s a neat trick if you can pull it off, which they did. Their impressive musicianship acted as a replacement for the hooks we might usually crave.

The title track was a major catalyst in the songwriting for ‘The More I Sleep The Less I Dream’ and it closes events here. Its patient, emotionally charged presence packs a punch as the band keep things raw - it’s a classic pre-encore showstopper.

Someone Else’s Problem, meanwhile, is cut from their most familiar template, where brilliant verses lead not into a chorus but an instrumental. It’s a microcosm of We Were Promised Jetpacks as a whole.

Not Wanted is perhaps the best moment of all, though. It’s a genteel number that reaches a magnificent peak in its explosive outro, while the sub-two minute instrumental Improbably is also something very special. It sounds like something left over from Ben Howard’s modern day classic ‘I Forget Where We Were’ and its ambience is gorgeous.

The opener, Impossible, boasts a twinkling guitar intro that justifies its placement, with its minimalist approach underpinned by incessant pitter-patter percussion and a slow building, temporary crescendo. In Light is more powerful, but also more uneventful. It comes alive for one outstanding melodic break before a weak chorus evokes a sub-standard Feeder cut.

Make It Easier also falls down at the chorus point, with some fine lyrics (“I can’t return all you deserve.”) and an instrumental bridge underserved this time. When I Know More irritates in its mediocrity, while Hanging In is a weak imitation of Manic Street Preachers’ A Design For Life.

‘The More I Sleep The Less I Dream’ may well mark a noticeable backward step in approach but, perhaps inevitably, it also feels like a regression in quality. At times it appears like they’re trying to find themselves all over again, but the songs still lack the killer choruses that would bring in droves of fans. That said, it contains enough growers to guarantee a reasonable shelf life.

We Were Promised Jetpacks Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed November 14 2018 - ABERDEEN Lemon Tree
Thu November 15 2018 - GLASGOW Saint Luke's
Sat November 17 2018 - EDINBURGH Old Dr Bells Baths
Sun November 18 2018 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Mon November 19 2018 - MANCHESTER Manchester The Deaf Institute
Wed November 21 2018 - LONDON Bush Hall

Click here to compare & buy We Were Promised Jetpacks Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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