The ripples being made on the Glasgow music scene by each of tonight’s bands have crossed more than once. With The French Wives guitarist Scott temporarily in the States, Paper Planes have been so kind as to lend them guitarist Chad from time to time, whilst this is far from the first night they have shared a bill. Two bands, two approaches, but a combination that functions to compliment rather than contrast.
Wasting no time, the Wives lead with ‘Capilano’, rising and falling to perfection from with every searing note from the violin. The emerging reputations are no stroke of luck and the Wives have a sound all of their own. With so many instruments on one stage it can be very easy to veer into over-ambition but the balance here is spot on. Languid notes from the trombone add colour to Small Time Crooks whilst Romeo and Genevieve skips around time signatures and benefits from more glorious violin.
But it’s during ‘Halloween’ that the Wives’ full potential is exposed. There’s plenty going on; vocal harmonies, violin – even a glocenspiel – but the sounds are married to perfection. Things build to a crescendo before fading to the bare bones; just the harmonies, just the melody. It’s a beautiful number, especially so live, and a symbol of what sets the Wives apart.
Paper Planes are a different prospect altogether. The two bands might share a guitarist and a stage from time to time but there are no violins or trombones here. Where the Wives are pleasant the Planes pout, where the Wives smile the Planes snarl, and singer Jen Paley stands in the eye of the storm. There might be a glorious din emanating from all sides but she is undeniably the focus, the epitome of cool amidst the frenzy. The little lady from New Jersey yelps like Karen O and effortlessly demands attention, but this is all about the songs.
The band don’t speak much, there’s little eye contact and even less time between tunes. It’s called confidence, and with such a body of songs behind them it’s something which is well deserved. ‘Diamond Diner’ is a no fuss stomper, a blast of something wonderful that doesn’t outstay its welcome, whilst during Studio 45 Chad really excels and excites. Matisse once said that drawing is the art of omission, and it’s a principle that here rings true with Chad’s guitar. Never is there anything more or less than there should be, everything is poised and everything to point. The effect is slick and the sound spectacular. New one ‘Doris Day’ meets us with a barnstorming riff and feels like it’s been part of their repertoire from day one before the night closes with ‘Permanent Marker’. Two minutes of bliss and then they’re off – talent Plane to see.
Paper Planes played:
Divine Lorraine Hotel
Disconnected, I Know
Words: Alastair Mitchell