25 January 2006

Overlooked Albums from the 90's - #16

Beatsongs by The Blue Aeroplanes

This week's overlooked album turns out to be fairly timely given that The Blue Aeroplanes are one of the bands playing South by Southwest this year. But then isn't it a little strange that they're playing as a twenty-something year old, virtually unknown band? I think so, but then I also think they should be a little more well listened to than they are. At least people should be remembering their album Beatsongs.

For a bit of background, the first paragraph from the TrouserPress write-up on them reads:

"The Blue Aeroplanes are so arty that their lineup includes a full-time dancer, but this ever-mutating Bristol combo has the talent and vision to justify its pretensions. Leader (and sole original member) Gerard Langley's lyrics, unlike those of most literate rock writers, are genuinely absorbing and poetic, while his band — which has maintained a consistently sterling standard of musicianship through numerous personnel shakeups — spins intricate yet accessible folk-rock epics that range from mildly gorgeous to full-on breathtaking."
Now, I've got no grand personal story to go with this album...it was pretty simple really - I used to watch and/or tape 120 Minutes every week and then buy some of the music that really caught my attention. Well according to the info found here, one such time was the October 27, 1991 broadcast when they played the Blue Aeroplanes song "Yr Own World". I do remember being immediately struck by the Marr-esque jangle of the guitars and the overall catchy and fun pop rock groove the song had going on. Lucky for me I found the CD the next time I went to Schoolkids and ended up with an album I've been listening to on and off ever since.

AllMusic claims that Swagger is the better album, but that's just wrong. Beatsongs is an improvement on the previous album because it's The Blue Aeroplanes firmly grasping what their sound really should sound like. There's a brooding artistic folk-rock quality to this music; and, start to finish the album remains strong in terms of song writing, lyrics, and musicianship. I've always really loved the introspective meandering of "Cardboard Box" and the psychedelic melancholy of "Angelwords", but every song on here is so worth listening to. There's even a nice cover of a Paul Simon song on here as well. What more could you ask for?

No joke, Select had this to say about Beatsongs - "the best album to bear a UK postmark in a long, long time".

Listen:
  • "Yr Own World"
  • "Angelwords"
  • "Cardboard Box"
(I'd love to hear from people who own/enjoy this album as this is the first of EF's 'Overlooked of the 90's' that I've honestly never talked to anyone else about, ever)

Previous Overlooked Albums from the 90's:
#1 - Saturnalia by The Wedding Present
#2 - The Inevitable by Squirrel Nut Zippers
#3 - This is Our Music by Galaxie 500
#4 - Dusk by The The
#5 - Fantasma by Cornelius
#6 - New Wave by The Auteurs
#7 - I, Jonathan by Jonathan Richman
#8 - Futureworld by Trans Am
#9 - Harmacy by Sebadoh
#10 - Cure For Pain by Morphine
#11 - God Fodder by Ned's Atomic Dustbin
#12 - Seven by James
#13 - Why Do Birds Sing? by Violent Femmes
#14 - Blank-Wave Arcade by The Faint
#15 - Dog Man Star by Suede

if you'd like...
Pitchfork's top albums of the 90's
1st version of their list

Another site does their own "Overlooked of the 90's":
Top 30 'Other' Albums of the '90s

6 comments:

howard said...

sorry to disagree with you, but swagger is the better album, but only just - just for cat scan hist'ry. The last time I saw the blue aeroplanes was at the london town and country club - I think it was sometime around you are loved ep?, although I may have seen them at the Reading festival the following year. They had t-shirts with the words "Are you,or have you ever been a member of the Blue Aeroplanes?" followed by a role call of members past and present.

Pope-rah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pope-rah said...

Harmacy has not left my stereo in over a decade.

TB said...

Swagger is substantially better than Beatsongs. It's not even close.

TB said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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