Singing night after night in bars and rock clubs can take a toll on a rock singer’s voice. Adam Thompson’s voice has been feeling scratchy, so we decide to email instead of talk on the phone before his band, We Were Promised Jetpacks, returns to Eugene. The Scottish indie rockers come to town supporting their brand-new album The More I Sleep the Less I Dream.
Thompson says it always take a while for his voice to adjust when he goes out on tour. “Usually after a couple weeks of touring,” he writes, “my body just goes, ‘Oh, this is what we’re doing all the time?’ and then it’s fine.” So don’t expect any vocal issues at the Eugene show.
The More I Sleep is slow-burning, Thompson’s brogue floating over guitar work that’s somehow both abstract and mathematical: slicing, sizzling, crashing and twirling. It’s romantic, post-U2 rock, minus the dogma. It’s yearning and searching, blending youthful optimism with an old soul’s sense of loss.
Song structures are long, focused less on verses and choruses and more on dynamics, tension and space. Thompson has said in the past that Scotland is damp and miserable, and Jetpacks sounds that way, too. But he’s not giving enough credit to his band’s warm beating heart, which shows up in the chorus of songs like “In Light.”
The album as it stands is the band’s second go at the material. The initial batch of songs was jettisoned, and the band started over.
“It just wasn’t us,” he says. “It sounded like us trying to be something we weren’t. And once you accept yourself for who you are and accept what you want, it feels much better.”
Jetpacks is now pleased with the album, Thompson says. “It sounds like the four of us playing, and I think it captures us in this moment perfectly. We are all proud of the songs and happy to be touring and supporting this album.”
We Were Promised Jetpacks plays with Eugene’s Girls Punch Bears 9 pm Saturday, Oct. 6, at WOW Hall; $14 advance, $16 door, all-ages.
— Will Kennedy