Their Planes Will Block Out the Sun
Their Planes Will Block Out the Sun is a very appropriate name for this indie rock band, which has dense melancholic songs and appears one way yet is quite another. This five-man Jersey band features a blend of styles, including jazz, electronic, and rock’n’roll, but still holds steady and true throughout their songs. Their first album, White Dancer, was released in July 2009 and their second album, Brasil, was recently released at the end of 2012. They have 3 upcoming shows in the next month in New York and New Jersey.
Many of Their Planes’ songs leave me in a trance, musing over the consequences of life, thoughts that are potentially tragic and traumatic and leave you invariably feeling nostalgic. Lost in thought, my mind meandering down the trails of what was, what is, and what will be, I find the music simultaneously engaging and disengaging. I suddenly realize that these thoughts seem fitting to the name of the band, which seems foreboding but also calls to mind (for me at least) the Cold War, thus simultaneously linking both the future and past in one swift (though not brief) line. In some ways I wonder if the title of the band is a way of preparing you for the experience of listening to their music.
In conjunction with the complexity of their music, their name is not as simple and bleak as it seems. According to their Facebook page,
The idea behind the name as the band has collectively put it is that we’re all like planes flying our own course and if we eclipse each other’s light, taking full attention even just for a moment, then all of it is worth it.
I can’t seem to make heads or tails of that, but I like it just the same. The band is putting a positive spin on the name, showing that it’s not all dreariness. You have to commend apocalyptic optimists; that’s no easy role to take on.
As I’ve mentioned, the music to this band is complex (however, do not be intimidated; it’s still easy to listen to and very pretty on the ears!). The band features rock’n’roll guitarist Craig Monaco, jazz percussionists John Falcone and Wayne Green, and classically trained keyboardist Paul Falcone. Vocals and lyrics are backed by the powerful voice of Victor Fernandez, whose melodic yet lugubrious tones draw you in deeper to the song. While in some cases such a variety of backgrounds could result in discontinuities in the music, here the woven fabric seems to hold strong:
From day one, each member brought to the table their own passion and experience, musically and personally, which combined, as in a finished puzzle, creates the singular entity which is Their Planes. They originally bonded over their shared desire to make complex, engaging, out of the ordinary music, which they themselves wanted to hear.
The band has recently released a new single “The Hunter” (available for free download on their Soundcloud) from their second album Brasil which was released in December. I find “The Hunter” to be both upbeat and somehow sad. The fast drum line and plentiful cymbals, as well as replicated human clap sounds keeps the song very positive. However, Fernandez’s voice is, as usual, powerful yet depressing (though not necessarily in a bad way). I listened closely to the lyrics and found them to be both silly and serious, optimistic and sad. The song is about (you guessed it!) a girl, but it’s neither the overly romantic take on love nor the bitter resentment of a broken heart. Lyrics such as, “I just want to see her jump for joy like she used to/ And wrap herself up in my silly hands,” reflects the complicated sentiments that one feels when in love: nostalgia for “the good old days,” sadness over changes, protective urges, optimism, and goofiness.
In Their Planes’ preview of the new releases, they commented,
The band hopes their music will awake feelings of rediscovery and joy in their audience—and, in turn, give way to personal narratives like in the single ‘The Hunter’, a song about holding on to your happy moments while struggling with adversity, yet at the same time, finding hope in it.
I think, boys, you may have achieved your goal.
For a mere $10, you can check out Their Planes’ Will Block Out the Sun in New York City at the Mercury Lounge tonight (1/14/13) at 8:30pm (doors open at 7:30), along with The Henry Millers, Hey Anna, and Hawkes & Doves. More info on the event here. They also will be hitting up Jersey City on Jan. 24 at The Lamp Post and in Atlantic City on February 15 at Le Grand Fromage.