The Blue Aeroplanes – Welcome, Stranger! Review
There’s a reason patience is a virtue as Wyndham Wallace discovered with the The Blue Aeroplanes long-awaited 13th album Welcome, Stranger![Artstar]
Having spent years hiding behind shades and ducking the propeller arms of bandmate Wojciech Dmochowski (whose only role was to dance on stage like a prototype Bez), it’s little wonder that Gerard Langley’s Blue Aeroplanes slowed their engines in the 21st century. But if their 12th album – the first since 2011’s Anti-Gravity – finds them navigating familiar territory, they sound like they’ve taken time to refuel.
Don’t be fooled by the slowly pounded drums and lumbering riff of opener Looking For X’s On A Map’s introduction: it takes off swiftly, Langley’s familiar half-spoken, half-sung texts now competing for space with a fierce assault of drums and churning guitars. This battle continues, entertainingly, for another nine songs, and they’re at their best on Dead Tree! Dead Tree!, in which Langley imitates crows, no less, while multiple guitarists weave around him.
The cowbell-friendly Elvis Festival offers another highlight with its poignant descriptions of attendees – “There’s a fat man walking in the rain/ His jumpsuit is getting stained” – while Langley’s indignation is almost tangible in the chorus of the otherwise more reflective Poetland. They even succeed in making Shanks & Bigfoot’s Sweet Like Chocolate entirely their own. Buckle up and enjoy the trip.