Music

Imitating Aeroplanes: Planet Language

The middle of the album by itself would represent a largely unremarkable debut for the electropop of Imitating Aeroplanes. But the beginning and end of this album are so strong that they lift up the whole record.


Imitating Aeroplanes

Planet Language

Label: Propeller Recordings
US Release Date: 2017-09-22
UK Release Date: 2017-09-22
Amazon
iTunes

Imitating Aeroplanes is a primarily electronic duo featuring Tord Øverland Knudsen of the Wombats and Marius Drogsås Hadsen of Team Me. The pair were childhood friends and had made music together before, but Planet Language is their first official album. The duo throws around terms like “anything goes” to describe their approach and “a series of red wine and prog nights” to explain their influences. That is probably true, but the resulting album is not nearly as freewheeling as those descriptions make it sound.

Planet Language does get off to a terrific start. The mostly instrumental “Roppongi Hills” begins with a lively, pseudo-Japanese melody, which is quickly doubled on piano and joined by thumping taiko-style drums on the beat. Widescreen electronic chords and snare drum rolls build the song until the final minute when a chorus of wordless voices adds to the big, big feel of the track. It’s a fun, interesting opener, and it leads into the catchy electropop masterpiece “Stomping Ground". A pinging electronic melody opens the song before bass, drums, and a fuzzed-out guitar enter and the slightly nasal vocals begin. The relatively quiet verse gives way to the huge hooks of the chorus: powerful backbeat drums punctuated by the pulsing bassline, layers of synth chords filling out the backgrounds, a blipping high register synth countermelody, and sing along vocals. “Holding on to everything we’re missing / Moving on was never easy / I’m reliving distant memories, but / Losing my foothold, leaving my stomping ground.” Even the quiet mid-song bridge where the vocals softly repeat, “Headed somewhere better” is a well-considered comedown from the chorus.

After that one-two punch, the album slows down considerably, both in tempo and song quality. “Diamond Dust” is a decent track, with a complex drum rhythm underpinning its relaxed feel. But there’s not much else going on musically or melodically to really grab the ear. At best, the harmonized layers of guitars and synths in the traditional guitar solo slot is interesting, but not enough to make up for the relatively staid verses and chorus sections. “Planet Language” begins with an intro that seems like it’s building to something, but then fizzles into another laid-back song. The song takes a break from itself and essentially stops everything for a ponderous fuzz guitar solo, but then it shifts right back into that laid-back mode. A flute-like synth solo shows up later on, but it still doesn’t make that main riff feel compelling.

6
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

12 Essential Kate Bush Songs

While Kate Bush is a national treasure in the UK, American listeners don't know her as well. The following 12 songs capture her irrepressible spirit.

Music

Tatsuya Nakatani and Shane Parish Replace Form with Risk on 'Interactivity'

The more any notions of preconceived musicality are flicked to the curb, the more absorbing Tatsuya Nakatani and Shane Parish's Interactivity gets.

Music

Martin Green's Junkshop Yields the Gritty, Weird Story of Britpop Wannabes

Featuring a litany of otherwise-forgotten budget bin purchases, Martin Green's two-disc overview of coulda-been Britpop contenders knows little of genre confines, making for a fun historical detour if nothing else.

Reviews

Haux Compellingly Explores Pain via 'Violence in a Quiet Mind'

By returning to defined moments of pain and struggle, Haux cultivates breathtaking music built on quiet, albeit intense, anguish.

Reviews

'Stratoplay' Revels in the Delicious New Wave of the Revillos

Cherry Red Records' six-disc Revillos compilation, Stratoplay, successfully charts the convoluted history of Scottish new wave sensations.

Reviews

Rising Young Jazz Pianist Micah Thomas Debuts with 'Tide'

Micah Thomas' Tide is the debut of a young jazz pianist who is comfortable and fluent in a "new mainstream": abstraction as well as tonality, freedom as well as technical complexity.

Music

Why Australia's Alice Ivy Doesn't Want to Sleep

Alice Ivy walks a fine line between chillwave cool and Big Beat freakouts, and her 2018 debut record was an electropop wonder. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, she tries to keep the good vibes going with a new record decked out in endless collaborations.

Books

Five Women Who Fought the Patriarchy

Whether one chooses to read Square Haunting for the sketches of the five fascinating women, or to understand how misogyny and patriarchy constricted intellectual and public life in the period, Francesca Wade's book is a superb achievement.

Film

Director Denis Côté on Making Film Fearlessly

In this interview with PopMatters, director Denis Côté recalls 2010's Curling (now on Blu-Ray) discusses film as a "creative experiment in time", and making films for an audience excited by the idea of filling in playful narrative gaps.

Music

Learning to Take a Picture: An Interview With Inara George

Inara George is unafraid to explore life's more difficult and tender moments. Discussion of her latest music, The Youth of Angst, leads to stories of working with Van Dyke Parks and getting David Lee Roth's musical approval.

Music

Country Westerns Bask in an Unparalleled Sound and Energy on Their Debut

Country Westerns are intent on rejecting assumptions about a band from Nashville while basking in an unparalleled sound and energy.

Film

Rediscovering Japanese Director Tomu Uchida

A world-class filmmaker of diverse styles, we take a look at Tomu Uchida's very different Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji and The Mad Fox.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.