Tonight’s launch of Astral Planes new EP has something of an air of intrigue. The Planes are well known in Glasgow but the EP brings with it a raft of new songs.
The chosen location is Stereo and unfortunately for the spectacle a lukewarm crowd gives something of a lukewarm response. With its high stage and cavernous roof Stereo is a strange venue whose walls and corners always seem to do odd things with the sound. The result is that the crunching notes from guitarist Chad’s Vox Phantom get slightly squashed and dampened. On the plus side, however, Jen Paley’s vocals are the loudest thing on stage and the progress she has made is clear. The new songs showcase her talents and on ‘Sleep of Reason’ in particular it’s the voice that stands out.
A set that starts with four new tracks in a row is brave but the EP is allowed to speak for itself. ‘Rotten’ continues the Planes trademark sound giving tremolo guitar riffs and a pleasantly uneasy atmosphere. ‘Disguise’ and ‘Eddie’ are deceptively engaging and pull together punchy choruses whilst ‘Sleep of Reason’ has the bittersweet lyrics ‘You were so pretty and I was so mean’ at its heart.
Things perhaps come together most completely in ‘Shut the Door’ and the band sound wonderful. Chad’s deft guitar lines are enhanced by an echoing, evocative drum sound and the track is one of real quality. The night ends in familiar territory with the stomping ‘Doris Day’ but it’s the new songs rather than the night which will linger in the memory. The Planes give proof positive that they are capable of producing fantastic pop records and Sit Still Child is an exceptionally interesting EP. After a summer of festival appearances including T in the Park expect the profile to take a sharp rise.
Words: Alastair Mitchell