Once Like a Spark
Smalltown America Records
Like drop-D? Like early Biffy Clyro? A fan of At the Drive-In, pissed off that they never made a follow-up to Relationship of Command? Well, I've just the thing. Once Like a Spark is looking a little dated now; the band's second release on Small Town America back at the opening of the last decade, it's more of a contemporary piece to the work of the aforementioned bands than some kind of imitation piece, and it's that crucial detail that makes this worthwhile.
Where a lot of the post-hardcore bands putting out records in the early two-thousands seemed to delight in a kind of obstinate, stubborn lo-fi, it's almost refreshing that Jetplane Landing eschew that approach and instead opt for a higher-standard production. The rich guitar tones in opener 'The Violence' and 'Brave Gravity' are a delight to the listener, and for all the moments of scratchy guitar, there's at least as many that boast a huge, full rock sound fit for banging your head along to.
'I Opt Out' is kind of like if Canadian alt-rockers Our Lady Peace discovered Incubus and alternative tunings. Thick and heavy on the choruses and swaggering in the verses it nevertheless distinguishes itself with an unusually modal melody that for some reason recalls OLP's dabbling with Eastern-flavoured chromaticism. 'Calculate the Risk' is straight back to ATD-I territory, while 'Do it... Now!' and 'Writing the Ways Down' are the token ballads.
Ultimately you may have heard it all before, but Jetplane Landing still have plenty to offer if you're a fan of this particular brand of post-hardcore. Listening to the angular attack of tunes like 'There Is No Real Courage Unless There Is Real Danger' and taking them as they were intended, Jetplane Landing are simply a great rock band with no frills attached; enjoy them as such and you won't go wrong.