It’s a great name for a band, We Were Promised Jetpacks. The Glasgow indie quartet is something like a motorcycle — their songs are made for speed. The faster WWPJ plays them, the better and more stable they sound. Not a band to stray too far from the basic 4/4 rock beat, We Were Promised Jetpacks is propelled by the simple but most effective rhythm team of Sean Smith on bass guitar and Darren Lackie on drums.
The band’s roots are in American postpunk-pop, with songs that go for days on two or three chords. The chorus is where WWPJ gets you. The song hooks are on loan from Blink or the Strokes, minus the pretension. The band plays hard in that clean, indie-rock band way with a unified feel of sincerity; singer-guitarist Adam Thompson’s vocals often trip the Bono meter for sheer passion.
And that’s where the band should fall apart. Thompson’s got a thick accent and a voice that climbs into the higher registers. Smith and Lackie should pound him clean off the soundboard, but they don’t. What would be a bloody struggle for any other singer with Thompson’s vocal register isn’t. He holds his own, and the rest of the band finds balance within the contrasting dynamics.
WWPJ is a young band. Theirs is a story of rock-and-roll cliché: less than a decade ago, while still in high school, four dudes form a band, play school dances, and lie about their ages to get into clubs. Music-industry attention comes via a MySpace page, and their debut These Four Walls gets them chart traction in America and abroad. You get a sense (especially from the obtuse lyrics) that WWPJ has little in the way of backstory, but there’s room to grow. We haven’t heard their best work yet.
WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS: The Loft, Wednesday, February 24, 8:30 p.m. 858-534-8497. $12.