Live Review

We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Lexington, London

A set built on lungs the size of houses.

“That was beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” the guy behind me proclaims, and he’s not wrong. We Were Promised Jetpacks have just struck the last chord to ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ and there’s a moments breath before the applause, which comes thick and fast and with an air of being genuinely impressed.

Having been privileged to catch We Were Promised Jetpacks at their debut London outing (back in White Heat February this year) it feels all the sweeter to see the room swell as their headlining set approaches and beaming faces familiar in the WWPJ lingo line up, keen to add their voices.

The support entertain like Keane, if they had some balls, crafting some furtive wailing in the lead singer of Strike West, but really putting up the vocal prowess pole-vault for Adam Thompson to approach – and as we presumed he would – nimbly pop over.

Where February’s gig was sub-ordinate to Eugene McGuiness, but no less alluring a proposition, as ‘Keeping Warm’ feeds the gradual build towards their own sound, Adam looks like a man on the edge of a fit, fighting with his guitar for obedience in his taut fury. Guitars now clear having swelled and grown up, when his voice breaks out of their swirling guitar pool, it’s rounded and glorious.

Confidence abounds as the singer addresses the crowd, where ‘Quiet Little Voices’ is jokingly cited as, “Our only decent song, so please feel free to leave after this, it’ll be all down hill afterwards!” We’re advised to focus on the drummers face, during his contribution of ‘Oohs’ to the chorus: Not a sight to be missed, as we’re met with an unfortunate pulled face for which the crowd dutifully livens up. Quiet indeed, nacht!

Still bouncing, ‘Moving Clocks Run Slow’ is blessed with some ecstatic cymbal crashes and the benefit of intermittent dynamics. Some Bloc Party-styled guitars crunch and then relax with the control and measure that additional time spent touring has gifted them.

The soon-to-be-unmistakable sound of ‘It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning’’s e-string opening being slung reigns out and the tempo is increased sharply. Its moody quavers dart across the room in the guise of feet and hands, until the final line is bellowed mic-less; an expression that suffers no loss of sound – or spit – as the front row will attest.

‘Short Bursts’ ends a set built of lungs the size of houses and guitars pulled into line like wild horses. Needless to say it makes for one almighty noise, and one you dare not step back from.

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