It's a basic premise - Four or five pretty decent looking guys form a indie rock band, sign to an indie label and put out a fairly successful single. And after listening to the first single, If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode), I had the desire to go out and spen $10 on an excellent album. Searching around the internet for reviews, though, I was fairly dissapointed from several negative reviews. I noticed that pretty much all they did was compare this band to Nirvana and other nineties grunge/alternative acts. They didn't actually review the album
. So, in dedication to a severely under-rated album, here goes my
review of As Far As the Eye Can See.
People In Planes - As Far As the Eye Can See (2006)
Gareth Jones: Vocals
Peter Roberts: Guitars
Kris Blight: Bass
John Maloney: Drums
Ian Russel: Keys
I've said it before, and I'd be happy to say it again. This album is grossly under-rated. Whether using lame comparisons to try and review an album or just pointing out the not-so-great, the other reviews have not done this album full justice. Sure, there are a few iffy tracks, but they are completely over-shadowed by the album's gems. So, without further ado, here's the album.
The best songs are not hard to identify. The band seems to bounce over a whole bunch of genres, but the most memorable would the be the indie-friendly songs that can be sure to have you toes tapping and, to a certain extent, shaking your head along with the song. I feel the highlight of this cd, though, is a slower, almost progressive song that boasts great instrumental performances and an occasional mini-jam session. The highlight Token Trapped Woman
is the most intellegent song on the album, with it's bright guitar riffs, both showing the ability to rock and to thought-provoke, as well as a very skilled rhythm section chugging along with the dark melody. A very atmospheric song that really represent the album with a positive spin; a few guys with little more desire than to bring the rock. The follow-up Falling by the Wayside
is another highlight, and is easily the best slower song on here, and best performance vocally. The premise of the song is a slow acoustic guitar strumming a couple of minor chords and a quite frankly stunning vocal performance, showcasing Jones' ability to smoothly articulate his voice to fit this dark song. It isn't until the chorus, though, that the band expands it's limits and welcomes the feelings of pain to it's music. With the rather gloomy music surfing underneath the spectacular vocals, you really can get lost in this song. Easily one of the best.
Few other songs make as big an impact as these, though. Sure, there are some other excellent songs yet to be heard, but none stand up as strongly as the those two. Coming in close, though, is the now Canadian-indie-anthem If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)
, which may not start out that promising (picture a piano and a viking-lady singing an opera version of the chorus), but stay in there as the song can only get better. Gradually moving into an fierce acoustic riff and a very enthusiastic lead guitar performance improvising, and a mellow Jones giving the song a Neil Young kind of feel. After a decent length verse, you get into the chorus, and I mean get into
it, as it's a very infectious one. Overlapping vocals over a slow but powerful musical performance, and gradually a great solo that remains among one of the best on the album. Totalling about 1:00 in length, the solo showcases the bands simple need to blow some minds. It's, frankly, quite astonishing. Another highlight is the totally different opener Barracuda
, which could've been a 70's rock anthem, as it has as much roots and blues as it does Led Zeppelin-esque influence. Some rediculous vocals occupy this song, like the chorus proclaiming "Swimming with a Barracuda" is a cool thing to say. It isn't, but it only takes it's toll on the song a very small amount. There really isn't anything else to be said, except that it's time to rock.
As the great songs go by, there are some questionable ones. Eventually, after the enchanting For Miles Around
and just-as-great Moth
(which shows us the band's ability to dominate the European indie genre), there is the dusty Rush
that doesn't exactly do the band any good. It's like a Tom Waits song, only without the fun and new-ness that Tom Waits made his songs to contain. Rush can easily ruin the mood of the album, as it only lands as a song that isn't remotely rewarding to listen to. It's lackluster riff that only supports a decent vocal performance and a bored-sounding rhythm section. Another slacker on the album is the decent Penny
, which could easily be an unproductive jam session for the band. It starts off with a dull keyboard, and the song really doesn't change, though it sports a decent chorus with the only noticible part of it being the vocals. Though the vocals are impressive, the actual music just falls flat and bows itself down to it's proud predecessors. And it doesn't help that it comes in at a rather large 6:28. Something that could've easily been avoided.
Overall, this album has some great songs that I would highly recomend to download, but some songs are less attractive and bring the album down a tad. So, if you're looking for a good listen and want a band that isn't afraid to explore different genres (most of which happen to be favorites of mine), I reccomend this album.
Thanks for reading,
Fun/Useless fact: Jaqouin Phoenix directed the video for If You Talk Too Much