Glasgow's Hogmanay: Jetpacks fulfil their promise
NOT many rock bands will have spent the Christmas holidays with their heads in their books, testing themselves on the inner workings of democracy and constitutional affairs. And not many graduates can contemplate picking up their scroll in May and a copy of their debut album the next. We Were Promised Jetpacks frontman and politics student Adam Thompson is contemplating just that.
The Glasgow-based group are one of the hotly tipped Scottish bands for 2009, and will be launching themselves into the New Year with a headlining performance at the city's ABC's Hogmanay concert, supported by fellow indie rockers Dananananaykroyd.
Thompson, guitarist Michael Palmer and bassist Sean Smith live together in a flat in Glasgow, with drummer Darren Lackie studying in Stirling.
When Thompson is shouting and jumping around as WWPJP's energy source on stage, the band's sound is somewhere between The Strokes and Orange Juice, with Thompson's searing, tortured and anthemic lyrics and vocals set against frenetic, jangly guitars. It is this punk-pop sound that has matched the band perfectly with acclaimed producer Ken Thomas for their debut album, due out in May. Thomas made his name working with Queen and Bowie, and more recently on the vast and urgent soundscapes of Iceland's Sigur Rs.
"We already had an album's worth of songs," says Thompson. "We recorded the album together in the one room, so most of it is live sounding. We wanted to make sure we didn't get too fancy or over-produced. Our label suggested Ken, and we obviously love Sigur Rs. The thing I remembered about the Hope of the States album he produced was that even though it was a bit chaotic, he brought it all together and it sounded great. After hearing that we weren't interested in hearing anyone else."
With echoes of punk in their music and a producer who was pivotal in the movement, you could be forgiven for expecting WWPJP to be far more anarchic than the reality. Songs such as 'Ships With Holes Will Sink' display classic, simple musicianship and songwriting that belies the fact that this is a bunch of 20-year-olds. That, teamed with friends in other bands spreading the word, should see them all right in 2009.
"Our label-mates Frightened Rabbit told a radio station about us in Seattle and they picked up our song 'Quiet Little Voices' for a podcast," Thompson beams. "It's had almost one million downloads in the States already."
• ABC, Glasgow (0141-332 2232), 10pm, www.myspace.com/wewerepromisedjetpacks