Monday evening playing to a half full room in one of Cardiff's smallest venues isn't exactly the place you would expect to find a band plotting their path to world domination.
But then Liverpool cosmic beat combo The Aeroplanes aren't any ordinary outfit. So far they've wowed the crowds at the recent SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, where they were singled out as one of the most promising acts to emerge from the hundreds of bands peddling their wares at the annual music scrum. And Stateside they've also snared themselves a celebrity fan in no lesser form than Hollywood actor Jeff Bridges. The star heard their music on iTunes and requested the use of the band's songs in his forthcoming film - critically acclaimed black comedy, The Moguls.
Couple that with critical bouquets showered on them from additional celebrity fans Liam Gallagher and Kate Moss, and you have a band you possibly wouldn't expect to see peddling their wares in such a small space.Their Cardiff appearance finds them appealing to a mix of hardcore student hedonists, borderline alcoholics (well who else hits the beer on a Monday night, except students and the alcoholically inclined!) and those who have already heard a whisper of just how good this band's songs are.
These confident Scousers deal in the sort of timelessly classic songwriting that prompted The Times to crow that 'The Aeroplanes are destined to be one of those great British bands that come along every generation. A phenomenon.'
The description isn't too far from the mark - trad influences from The Stones' loose limbed Exile On Main Street era, the edgy histrionics of Oasis and the unavoiidable similarities to Lee Mavers' Scouse icons The La's are all there in the mix. But it's the sheer scope of their vision that leaves the comparisons redundant.
They rattle through a set of songs that brim with swathes of textured hooks and dazzling three-part harmonies - it's a proper big rock sound that flooded the tiny venue and engulfed it.
The stomping Don't Stop Me carouses with the fizzing energy and rousing spirit of fellow Scousers The Zutons, Slipping Away explodes with some incendiary riffs courtesy of guitarist Paul Crowe, while You Don't Know has the roomy air and cinematic vision of the Gallagher brothers duetting with gritty troubadour Ryan Adams. It's a joyously upbeat, life-affirming country-tinged rocker that ably demonstrates The Aeroplanes' versatility and promising songwriting ability. This is a band who are seemingly afraid to play it safe, but thankfully unafraid to create something special.
All this naked ambition can be seen in next single, This Is My Love. The song that closed their set is one of those awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping moments of spectral brilliance. It's a glacial anthem to rank alongside the larger moments of arch big noise peddlers Coldplay, Keane and Embrace.
Singer Chris Kearney's magnificent raw, rasping vocals mutate into a chest-beating roar and the music spins to a breathtakingly giddy climax. It as good a tune as you're likely to hear this year - a song that if justice actually did its job for once, should propel them into the nation's consciousness. Airplay on Virgin and Radio 2 has ensured that the reality may be theirs sooner rather than later.
So to summarise, The Aeroplanes - beginning to fly.
Now watch them soar.
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