Thursday, 21 January 2010

People in Planes
As Far as the Eye Can See
Wind-Up Records
Rating: 4/5

To begin writing about this record it seems important to point out something I say a lot: there is basically nothing truly original to be done in music these days. To steal from the script of Primer, it's now a case of "taking from your surroundings, and making of them more". At this, People in Planes are an exceptional case. Track for track, this album is of a startlingly high quality, and there is not one weak song on it. Critics of the band will point to their obvious influences, but this belies the fact that it's a great album anyway, and that the list of influences is just diverse enough to make a really great rock record.

So what does it sound like? The opener, 'Barracuda' is very QOTSA, or perhaps first-album Wolfm
other; listen and decide for yourself. Track two sounds a lot like Effloresce-era Oceansize. Track three sounds like My Iron Lung EP-era Radiohead, but with a large pinch of some other that is entirely PiP's own. 'Moth' is more of their own style, with a small amount of '2+2=5' in the mix. 'Rush' with Damon Albarn singing could be a track from the tail end of the first Gorillaz album. 'My Black Widow' is almost like something off of A Crow Left of the Murder by Incubus; 'Leech', or any of the moments of heavy riffing that they do post-Morning View. In 'Token Trapped Woman', the album's best track PiP have no obvious comparison, as with 'Falling by the Wayside', 'Fire' and the wicked closer, 'Narcoleptic'. 'Light for the Deadvine' and 'Penny' both remind me of something that I can't place, so maybe it's more of a vibe than an actual direct comparison in my mind; they are great songs anyway.

At this point, I should mention that I once caught this band supporting The Crimea at the Camden Barfly. Opening with a shambolic 'Vader's March' the band played a chaotic set that whilst in terms of stage presence was, well, intimidating in its violence and energy, was musically unimpressive. As a result, I was surprised that when I picked up this album in the reduced section of Amoeba records SF I thought it was awesome. Also, their lead guitarist is really fucking talented, and I always have to give kudos for any guitar player that does something I can't instantly pin down. On this record are some neat sounds and effect tricks that I still haven't worked out how to do myself, and geeky as it is that really impresses me.

In short, like solid alternative rock? Look no further. Like early Oceansize borderline prog/alt rock? Look no further. Impressed by solid songwriting? Look no further. Prefer strong melodies and a more 'pop' sensibility? There's something for you here too. In short, it's a Smorgasbord. If you like any kind of alternative rock, I defy you, having set your prejudices about 'originality' aside, to dislike this record. It fucking rocks.

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