Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Twilight Sad @ ICA

By chloeg Last edited 179 months ago

Last Updated 10 July 2009

Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Twilight Sad @ ICA

thets_0809.jpg We Were Promised Jetpacks are younger than Ghostbusters, as they tell us on their MySpace page. Lucky, then, that age doesn’t stop you from hitting the jackpot in a combination of punishing guitar noise, catchy riffs and heavily accented, sophisticated lyrics. Jigsawed together WWPJs are worryingly good; and what a respite, to see a young support band whose hands you feel totally secure in from the first song. How refreshing, as well, to see a band who don’t really look like a band except when they’re being a band. “This is our only good song”, shouts lead singer Adam Thompson to the packed crowd as they play single ‘Quiet Little Voices’ as their second song, but the fallacy of this rings throughout the room for the rest of their set as they stack up triumph after triumph. So too does an intangible joy, created perhaps by the feverish sound and devotion it is played with. Though they need the odd bit of polish rehearsal-wise, they look set for exciting things.

Up next are another group of guitar thrashers, label mates The Twilight Sad, who are a beguiling band indeed. Fronted by aesthetic hard-bastard James Graham and creators of poetic titles like ‘Talking With Fireworks/Here It Never Snowed’, last time we caught them there was a sense that the band hadn’t quite matched up to the true majesty and scale of landscape on their recorded material. This time they seem closer to reaching some kind of grand pinnacle; swathed in the dark and smoke of the venue, they make for a dark and stirring force. They seem boosted by the audience, who are intent on listening as Graham is at staring out as if in a menacing trance, which could well be the case, such is the dream-like nature and peak and power of the music.

There is still a sense that something is missing from the performance - at times they don’t create the visual of a coherent band, avoiding meeting each others’ eyes and, in the case of some members, failing to appear moved by the music. And if the band doesn’t look like they believe in the music, why should the audience? At other times Graham’s vocals, which are strong and powerfully delivered, nonetheless can’t quite be heard over the noise, creating a slight sense of mismatch across the stage.

Still, these are fussy details flailing in the wash of a great band, who’ve managed to create ocean-like beauty through some noisy-arse rock music. The TS create music which is characterised by something to see as well as hear: the sight of dusk, a memory of midwinter years ago, the geography of quiet before life’s noisy peaks and downs.

Image of The Twilight Sad from turquoise boy's photostream under the Creative Commons Licence.

We Were Promised Jetpacks have recently released their fantastic debut album ‘These Four Walls’. The Twilight Sad release 'Forget The Night Ahead', the follow up to their stunning debut ‘Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters’, on 5 October 2009.