We Were Promised JetPacks, In the Pit of the Stomach

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Sounding like they’ve plugged their guitars straight into a bunch of Marshall amps with nowt in between We Were Promised Jetpacks’ second album gets off to a rollicking start with Circles and Squares – a plaintive ode to confronting inner demons. The no-frills approach endures throughout with the four-piece making up for an occasional lack of tunes with bags of energy and self-belief pouring out of every track.

Medicine – rousing chorus and chuntering riffs – is the first single but Human Error is the belter of the bunch – strong musically and lyrically with soulful vocals and a juddering, bone crunching finale sure to go down a storm at festivals. I usually prefer vocals a bit higher in the mix but Adam Thompson’s gentle Edinburgh brogue – never more evident than during the stop-time on album closer Pear Tree –  cuts through; a soothing counterpoint to the harder Weegie edge of other Jock Rockers out there.

UK riots and the baseball bat

Lots of talk recently about baseball bats fuelled mainly by some articles suggesting there’d been a huge increase in online sales following the recent riots in England.

I haven’t delved into it — it could be rubbish —  but if we accept these reports at face value then Slate’s articles here about the baseball bat in popular culture and throughout a bit of hastily-errected wikipedia-supported history makes for interesting reading.

However, there are some notable omissions from Slate’s bat run-down. Gary Oldman does some fine wielding towards the end of The Firm when he takes on The Yeti as I recall and let’s not forget Noel Clarke’s vicious finale in Kidulthood (and the less prominent return of the bat in that film’s sequel).

Slate mentions The Warriors but neglects to mention how  awesome that particular fight scene is in that very underrated film. It was the Baseball Furies who thought they were man enough to take on the fleeing Warriors but they had their own weapons turned against them in a New York public toilet if memory serves.

The Untouchables speaks for itself — that scene with De Niro pacing the dinner table is a tough watch even after all these years. I just took a refresher and I’m surprised that it’s passed YouTube’s decency guidelines. Messy.

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However, I want to make a case for a long forgotten and sadly rather obscure piece of battiness in both senses of the word. Of Uknown Origin was an 80s thriller that for some reason was played regularly in the student flat I shared many eons ago. Who owned the VHS I cannot say but on a Sunday morning nursing sore heads we’d often stick it on and watch Peter Weller (later of Robocop fame) succumb to an all-encompassing madness as he realises that his home ain’t big enough for him and a large rat. Needless to say, the rat intends on staying.

As the beastie slowly but surely turns his thinking to mush Weller’s methods of trying to trap the critter mirror his decline as they become increasingly elaborate. There’s the bear trap in the dolls house which ends in tears and also a wonderful scene where his neighbour (possibly a relative) comes downstairs to find that Weller has enhanced a baseball bat with all manner of nasty stuff and there follows a powerful moment where the visitor just stares at Weller who returns the gaze with a vengeance. Eyeing the bat the man quietly leaves without saying a word.

Like those fish that swell up into spiky balls, we humans too, have a way of letting our fellow man know danger is near.

Rediscovered track of the month: Aug ’11

Epic by Faith No More . . .
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