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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Paper Planes
Untitled (CD EP)

This rocking CD EP of 5 songs from Long Beach's Paper Planes was surprisingly good for a demo. A lot of the upbeat rock demo stuff we get is poorly recorded, definitely keeping with the spirit of punk, but too often the poor recordings do little to further the cause of DIY. The songs are certainly recorded well, but retain a sort of blistering rawness. Speaking of blistering, the opening track "Fever Blister" certainly does that, running ramshackle with just a few chords to power that steam engine. Hints of the Velvets, Ramones, Strokes, Kinks and may other chugging pop-punk bands are all here.

I kind of like those wild and emotive vocals all over the place. It's a bit like David Byrne at times, a sort of yelping half monotonic, half sneer. This might not work in another setting, but the hurky-jerky singing on "Constant Frustration" really fits the off kilter style of the guitar, bass and drums. The lyrics start from "Count all the beats in your heart" but then get to "Count all the assholes in the crowd"... it was kinda funny seeing that transformation. That leads to an extremely blasting eruption of a very dirty electric guitar solo. This is the kind of solo I dig, not notes but noise and dynamics. Very nice. "Mexico" keeps up that syncopated vocal and instrument style but adds smoother choruses to flesh things out. The ending track "Live How We Live" felt a little too long and drawn out for my tastes. I think it just felt like it didn't fit on the album, being a lot more "jammy" than the rest of the compact tunes. Reminded me Rolling Stones or late period Hollies. But my favorite track is actually "Time Won't Build" which feels sort of nostalgic in an older British poprock way or something. I think there is actually a Television Personalities song that I kept hearing in this song, but I can't remember which one it is. (The song lyrics are interestingly based on a poem called "The Torturer" by Mazisi Kunene). A really great pop tune.

The lineup for this Paper Planes demo is Aaron Robinson on guitar, Micah Panzich with guitar and vox, Tyler Smith on drums,vox and then Carte Blanche/December Stars vet Dana Kruse on bass. I believe the band has more output coming down the pipe and if you're in the Long Beach area it's probably worth it to check out one of their shows.

- review by RABBIT (4.27.04)        

Paper Planes

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