First Listen – Without Aeroplanes – “Tell Me Tales Of Canada”

14 03 2012

PURE POST-ROCK. IMPRESSED IS TOO SOFT A WORD.

Before I begin I must thank my friends in Without Aeroplanes for giving me the opportunity to be the first person outside of their band to listen and review their EP. It gives me a great feeling that people are taking notice of A Tidal Wave Of Sound and this is the main reason I have chosen to keep this blog going. And mark my words. It will be expanding. I cannot thank Chris, Darren, Murray, Andy and Yoirgos for giving me this amazing opportunity to be the first reviewer of their new EP. I am in your debt guys. Seriously.

Right. That’s enough Oscar style preening. It’s time for the review.

Without Aeroplanes new EP “Tell Me Tales Of Canada” is something that has captured my heart and arrested my ears. The EP has been named in the stead of drummer (and broony specialist) Andy McMillan who is sadly departing the band for Canada in the near future. I wish him all the best. Fans of Without Aeroplanes will know several of the songs included in this EP, whether it be from seeing their live performances, social media networks or their SoundCloud page but I can tell you this much. You have never heard them like this before. In fact, I must quickly mention how impressed I am with the work ethic that went into the making of this EP as guitarist Chris informed me that the band got through and finalised the first three songs so quickly that they decided to add two more onto the EP. Smart move boys. And I have to say, I am impressed by your speed (no jokes intended – much)

The running order of “Tell Me Tales Of Canada” is as follows.

1) Beacons

2) Just So You’re Warm

3) Are You Free?

4) Circling

5) Charge Of The Light Brigade

And yes. I will be doing that thing I used to hate, but have kind of grown to enjoy, and reviewing each song one by one. This EP deserves that privilege. And I am going to honour it by taking apart every aspect as best I can.

1) Beacons

This song starts off beautifully. I am not one to use that word but bugger me with bread knife if this isn’t one of the most gorgeous openings to a song I have heard since I listened to “Quiet” by TWDY. The waves of overlapping reverbed guitar allows the song to flow with such ease. The tone of the bass adds to the calming overall tone of the song and it lulls you into a ethereal feeling passage of music that could sooth Malcolm Tucker. But, in typical post-rock fashion, we are sent hurtling towards a wall of noise. The thing I love about this song is that it does the simple things well. Much like fellow post-rockers Suplex The Kid, Without Aeroplanes have created a soundscaped masterclass by simply allowing their instruments to speak. This is the quintessential post-rock track. And is the perfect way to kick off the album. Oh. And I challenge anyone not to feel pumped up to the max after listening to the final section of the song.

2) Just So You’re Warm

Beginning with a call and response motif on guitars (if only my music teacher who told me I didn’t know music could read that. Fat cow.) this song really comes to life with some beautifully simply bass chords that keep the overall flow of this EP on track. Listening to this it becomes obvious that WOA are not here to assault your eardrums with loud “wall of noise” post rock but are here to create an aural experience. In all honesty, I feel the bass drives this song. Some brilliant harmonising with the guitars gives this song real body and depth (typical bassist patter alert from me here). Just So You’re Warm is like a hug. Gentle and it makes you feel safe. That’s probably the inspiration behind the title. I know symbolism obviously.

3) Are You Free?

Yes. I am after hearing this. This is the stand out of the album. Kicking in with some infectious drum beats this song takes you from the ethereal to the more lively side of Without Aeroplanes. It really put me in mind of early This Will Destroy You and that can only be a good thing in my books. I was slightly worried at first when I heard this track as I thought it was deriving too much from the previous tracks, this being that after the initial upbeat drum pattern it delved into some more relaxed guitar based passages of play. Oh how wrong I was. Just after the three minute mark it burst into life. Driven by wave of guitar noise and a very accomplished bass and drum line this song highlights my previous point. These guys write great post-rock without needing to draw on over the top skills. Listen to the instrumentation and musicianship on this song and you can describe it as nothing else but flawless.

4) Circling

Skilfully crafted guitar lines over other guitars providing swells and drones. Together they make various parts of me tingle (parts that I won’t get in to right now). And this songs leaps into life with this. The part of this song that stands out for me is the first passage of built up sound. It utilises quite an interesting dynamic. The guitarist let out short, sharp bursts with stops in between but it is almost as if they let their reverb units run on and it creates a very interesting sound for the listener to get their heads round. I also need to mention the bass tone in this songs built up passage. My word. Overdrive is a wonderful thing and it gives this song big cojones. Massive big swinging ones. I tip my hat to thee Murray Ross. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

5) Charge Of The Light Brigade

What a way to end an EP. Now. I’m a big delay slut as most of my musical friends know. So if you include any sort of delay in a song, i’ll probably like it. So what do these sneaky bastards do. They go and kick off a song with delay. Wee tarts so they are. The final track is something that rounds up everything that Without Aeroplanes incapsulates. These guys have the ability to write very minimal segments of music with their own instruments but when put together they create a sound which is so relaxing and awe-inspiring that you can only listen and love it. Charge of the Light Brigade flows seamlessly. After it moves from it delay riddled opening passage it thorws you face first into sound majestic soundscapes. And again, for me, there are some fantastic bassl lines to be heard in this song. Murray, much like yours truly here, has obviously seen that bassist can bring a different dimension to post-rock rather than just filling out the sound. The only gripe I have with this song is that it leaves you wanting more. It leaves you wanting to hear more. And more. And more. Forever and ever.

“Tell Me Tales Of Canada” is one of the most solid recordings I have heard. The guys in Without Aeroplanes can be very happy with their work. They have encapsulated a sound that is simple but so arresting that it will be very difficult for people not to sit up and take notice of this fledgling band. I have been listening to it for two days straight and if everyone who hears it enjoyed it as much as I have then they are on to a winner.

The EP will be released on the 18th of this month and will be available on a Pay What You Want deal. I really hope some of you take the time to actually put a little bit of cash towards this album. I know free music is great and all that but it shows a great deal of generosity of spirit and appreciation to show these guys some support and spend even a quid on their first release.

Finally, I have to thank Chris Monan for being so helpful and thoughtful as to let me be the first person to review this and I also want to thank the rest of Without Aeroplanes for basically being stand up guys in the short period of time I have known them. Congratulations guys. This release is TOP DRAWER.


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22 04 2012
Catch Up – Without Aeroplanes and Thula Borah « atidalwaveofsound

[…] First Listen – Without Aeroplanes – “Tell Me Tales Of Canada” Archives […]

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