Albums: two by We Were Promised Jetpacks

Here I'm going to depart from my usual album review format where I discuss a single album that I've been listening to for years.  Instead, I'm going to talk about the new album by We Were Promised Jetpacks, In the Pit of the Stomach, and how it's different from their first, These Four Walls.

Here's the song that got me hooked on the band, Moving Clocks Run Slow from These Four Walls:
The lyrics are catchy nonsense (is it about special relativity?) and the vocals and drums are up front in the mix.  The sound is spare, the pace propulsive.  It has groove.

I bought the new album because WWPJ played at the Grog Shop on November 1st.  Here's Medicine from In the Pit of the Stomach (not a live version):
The sound of this song, and most of the rest of the album, is grander, more epic.  The rest of the mix has been brought up alongside the vocals and drums, and there's just more going on.  More layered guitars, more effects, everything.  It feels like the difference between a live record with four guys making disciplined noise and a studio album where full advantage was taken of the multitracking.  Sadly, the new one doesn't play as well against background noise:  in my car, I can't hear enough of the detail to really get a feel for the song; instead I want to listen to it on the good stereo at home.  The popping, high-dynamic-range songs on Walls never needed that.

In the Pit of the Stomach feels more mature to me than These Four Walls.  Maybe this is the sound of a band growing up:  graduating from playing in bars to playing in studios.  Sadly, they didn't play Moving Clocks Run Slow at the Grog.  It was a great show anyway.