Brooklyn threesome, The Planes, are the other band of Phantom Handshakes bassist, Matt Sklar and perhaps present him with something of an alter ego that enables him to break free from the beautiful dream-gaze shackles of that act and just ‘break free’.
For essentially this album has a dual pronged aesthetic that both take slight diversions from absolute propulsion. Initially, thin slithers of jangled melodies are just about enabled amid the jangle rock mayhem of the Beeef / Biitchseat style The Constant, Stand Back and Unglued. It is just a total sense of muscular, incessant dynamism.
However, this album truly excels when the perfectly flawed, vocal emotionality of Stephen Perry, offers a natural home for the COVID / life insecurities lyrical subject matter, in Decoder Ring, On A Train and Little Dream. All propulsive simplicity, in the kind of 90s alt rock meets twee style of Tullycraft, there is something that is just so endearing from an ‘everyman’ perspective about this sound.
The only time the incessant drive is ever really diluted is in the triple track salvo of Runway, Simmer Rain and Best To Break, these tracks proceed each other sequentially, almost as if to compete with each other in terms of under-produced jangled beauty and a sense of fragile introspection.
Some might bemoan the fact that The Planes have not really moved on substantially from their previous releases and perhaps this argument has some substance. However, while they continue to release superlative album’s likes this, packed with simplistic three minutes pop masterpieces any ‘need’ for deviation is really just borering on being churlish.