Saturday, 28 August 2010

People in Planes
Beyond the Horizon
Wind-Up Records
Rating: 4.5/5

Rightio, so as promised I'm going to write a few lines about PiP's follow-up to the capriciously brilliant ...As Far As The Eye Can See, a record that I fortuitously picked out of a bargain bin at Amoeba Records in SF, and that, to my knowledge, has still not been released in the UK. 

Listening to this, I can't help but ask where the fuck this band's legions of fans are, for largely eschewed is the idiosyncratic, pseudo-prog of their debut; instead, what's on offer here is left-of-centre prog informed alt-rock. The songs are shorter, the arrangements snappier, the vocal hooks more capable of passing the grey whistle test. In other words, it's shockingly accessible where perhaps AFATECS was not. Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace oversaw the early stages of this album, and it shows to an extent- while PiP have more kick than OLP, some airwaves-stealing moments have been included where they would not have made it onto AFATECS, notably 'Know By Now'. 

The best tracks obviously are the ones which showcase PiP's post-Ok Computer Radiohead musings combined with high register vocals and harmonies as well as Pete's guitar histrionics. In this category falls opener 'Last Man Standing', 'Get On The Flaw', expansive title-track 'Beyond the Horizon', Nu-Clear Sounds Ash-esque 'Tonight the Sun Will Rise' and 'Vampire'. The two singles, 'Pretty Buildings' and 'M'aidez' are your more run-of-the-mill pop rock, only distinguished really by the quality of singing and occasional outbursts of extended guitar technique. That said, I challenge any man to not get 'M'aidez' stuck in their head. It's fucking infectious. 

Apart from the afore-mentioned 'Tonight the Sun Will Rise', the highlight is undoubtedly heavy rocker 'Better Than Life', which closes on riffage so colossal that Wolfmother probably get a collective shiver down their spines every time PiP play it. Basically, it's a great album; not as randomly inspired as their first, perhaps, but it shows a band dealing with the need to expand their fanbase without shitting all over their roots (cough, Muse, cough), something that you can't condemn. 

Mayday [M'aidez] by acelynham

If you want to read my review of their first record, ...As Far As The Eye Can See, check it out here:

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