Planet Language

Imitating Aeroplanes

Propeller Recordings, 2017

http://www.facebook.com/imitatingaeroplanes

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/14/2017

Oslo-based duo Imitating Aeroplanes’ debut album Planet Language is a synth record. But there is nothing common about the band’s particular brand of synth sound, especially these days when music is dominated by nostalgic synth-pop acts. To summarize their music, Tord Øverland Knudsen (of the English group The Wombats) and Marius Drogsås Hagen (founder and songwriter of the Norwegian indie pop outfit Team Me) pay homage to disco and progressive rock with a delightful pop sensibility on this album, which is nothing if not an out-and-out masterpiece.nbtc__dv_250

The duo makes the ultimate tribute to all of their influences on the eight-minute instrumental and concluding track “Sakebad i Kanazawa,” which keeps changing from one style to another. It kicks off with lulling psychedelic synthesizers, then turns into a dreamy space-rock number, and finally into a campy but cool disco number, complete with a cheesy synthesizer solo. This song of several parts is certainly quite strange, but taking what is weird and making it catchy (and vice versa) is what the band does such a fantastic job with on this record.

The over six minute long “H.I.T.S.” is one of the most unlikely candidates from the album for a single. However, it pretty much condenses what you can expect from the Planet Language in one song. The disco drumming and full-on spacey synthesizers make up the accessible aspects of the song. On the flip side, this cut has no chorus, consisting instead of long musical parts; the longest is towards the end and lasts for a couple of minutes.

Tracks like “Stomping Ground” and “Diamond Dust,” on the other hand, have the essence of “H.I.T.S.” but are totally straightforward, and super addictive. “Hourglass” is kind of like an X&Y era Coldplay track, a spacey rock song turned into an upbeat pop number.

Like a progressive rock album, Planet Language is an album of many nuances, complex ideas, and amazing musicianship. At the same time, tossing tricks that make a pop song work into the mix is also a huge part of the plan in the disc’s grand musical vision. Ultimately, the way this duo makes all of this work so effortlessly is pure awesomeness.

Rating: A

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© 2017 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Propeller Recordings, and is used for informational purposes only.