Thursday, January 17, 2008

Review: The Sailplanes - A Second, or Ten Years Later

Label: Red Headed Stepchild Records

Released: July 1, 2007

In listening to A Second, or Ten Years Later, two influences kept cropping up: New Model Army and Joy Division. There really couldn't be two things more different than New Model Army's warm, human, folky anger and Joy Division's cold, stark, dark emptiness, yet the Sailplanes manage to work both into their music. That ability to juxtapose such seemingly different things is a subtle, yet powerful strength. It's not just passion and desperation that they place side by side either. They align fuzzy, sludgy bass and ringing guitar with the driving precision of the percussion. Their sharp, angular sound sits on top of smooth, ambient keyboards. They butt the harsh up against the clean. They even alternate between male and female vocals. All of these contrasts run parallel to one another as if the two sides of the music are the two sides of the human heart and soul. The album's weakness is that it wears its influences a bit too much on its sleeve. However, hints of Berlin-period Bowie/Eno (and a recent move to that city) might be just the thing to bring their sound together without inhibiting the natural conflicts that makes it so good.

Rating: 7/10



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