"In the Pit of the Stomach” is the second album from Edinburgh-based We Were Promised Jetpacks. Two years after its debut, the band is back with an album that holds just as much fire as before, but with a technique unexpected from an act so new to production music. Their previous album, “These Four Walls” was a less refined creature, and the effort put into their music since then shows in the present sophistication.
Opening with “Circles and Squares,” the album leaps directly into Jetpacks’ powerful guitar riffs, strong bass, and persistent use of cymbals. Although you would expect this to be an absolute cacophony, each instrument is soft, creating a warm fuzz-rock sound that is somewhat reminiscent of Silversun Pickups. Throw in some thickly accented lyrics, and you’ve got the core of this album.
The vocal talents of the band become clear on the next big song, “Through the Dirt and Gravel.” On this track, it becomes apparent that front man Adam Thompson has put real effort into his songwriting, the weakest part of their debut album. His penchant for repeating a single line four times as a chorus has made way for melancholy echoes and introspective lyrics.
The most memorable song of the entire album is “Sore Thumb.” Disguised as a breather track, the first three minutes are nearly devoid of lyrics, allowing the guitar, bass, and drums to construct a slow and mournful melody. This builds into a hopeful crescendo, with the barest hint of vocals, and then falls, back down to its previous mood.
One thing needs to be made clear. This album is a slow one to take hold. No superstar songs jump out the first time through, and many tracks may seem to blend together, paced so as to ease you into each new piece. It’s solid work, and you can expect much more to come from this group in the future.