Saturday 22 June 2013

Amazing Planes - Broken Spokes

Album review by

Debut single 'Your Money' would have had us convinced that Amazing Planes were a product of America's thriving modern blues-rock scene had we not been given a brief history of the duo. Debut album 'Broken Spokes' was written, recorded and produced by the pair in Nottingham (that city has proved to be a hotspot of musical activity of late, although it appears Amazing Planes are originally from nearby Mansfield. I wonder if they remember Big White Stairs?) and it released on their own Black Dog Recording Company label. So all in all this is well and truly an independent, in-house project, which of course gives them total artistic freedom, rarely a bad thing. The music contained herein follows a similar blues-rock track to the one they travelled down on the single.

Both members of the band have been part of other groups in the past and also had experience as studio engineers, so it's no big surprise that between just the two of them they've made a record that sounds as fully-formed as this. Usually it's our job to do the comparisons (this is mainly because bands or their PR company fill press releases with other acts they want their act to be compared to, not ones that they actually do take an influence from or could realistically be compared two), but these guys know their stuff. So they give us The Black Keys, The Raconteurs, Cream and The Yardbirds, which is a fairly good representation. They sound like a current band, so the '60s powerhouses they mention are as much an influence as a comparison, but one which you an hear. They keep the tempo up on 'Broken Spokes' and add a few nice touches that give them a less pilfered sound.

The backing vocals on 'Halo' are particularly good, the guitar on 'Don't Hold Me Down' could be from Cream or one of the Yardbirds' graduates, or even Hendrix; it's that style and that time period. The only thing this album is perhaps lacking is a stone-cold single. A real standout that could gain enough attention to ope the door for them. Mind you, they come very close on 'Black Arctic', surely this one has to be a single. It offers a potential wider appeal too, mixing in soul to their sound, something that spills over into next track 'Holy Water'. 'Seeking Love' is perhaps lighter still with its twinkles and almost poppy nature, that is until they introduce a bit more grunt for the chorus. It actually transpires that previous single 'Your Money' is maybe the weakest track in their arsenal.. Really though, Amazing Planes have done themselves proud with this album, and we're hoping it's no one-off.

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