Sunday, October 14, 2012

Live Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Cluny 2, Newcastle, 12/10/2012

We Were Promised Jetpacks' current position is a tough one to evaluate. Now fairly established on the UK's underground indie circuit, the Edinburgh quartet are nevertheless an outfit you'd file under 'promising' as opposed to any category of fulfilment. They're undoubtedly headed in the right direction: two albums in, they've clearly made strides with regards to consistency, and though still a work in progress from a songwriting perspective can summon levels of passion and energy to mix it with the best. It was on impulse, then, that I decided to attend the first date of the group's latest UK tour, fuelled by curiosity as to whether that recorded zest could be channelled into their live shows.

And what a good job I did. Right from the extended jam which introduced "Keep Warm" it was clear my query would be met with a definitive 'yes.' Blitzing any fears of returning rustiness, the band clicked into full flow instantaneously, following that opener with a fabulous one-two punch of "Human Error" and "Quiet Little Voices" which smacked of purpose and positively bristled with intensity. Most music translates better live, but tonight took that notion to an extreme - the 160-capacity Cluny 2 playing host to a group of songs which, even in such a modest setting sounded huge. Obvious examples lay in "It's Thunder And It's Lightning," the premature climax of which reached genuine skyscraping heights and "Pear Tree," whose dynamic shifts between brooding melody and soaring noise sounded almost reminiscent of fellow Scots Mogwai.

A slightly patchy catalogue still stands in the way of a truly top drawer setlist, but the spirit and verve with which WWPJ played ensured even their lesser cuts stood up to examination. You certainly can't envisage them remaining in rooms like this mini-theatre for long, and with a couple more LPs worth of material to their name there's no knowing how far they could go. For now, though, the best thing to do is simply enjoy this young band thriving in such intimate surroundings, playing their hearts out and progressing before our eyes. If nothing else, they can consider this casual fan a new full-time convert.



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