The poet-rock legends return with a familiar sound that will warm the soul like hot soup on a winter’s night
It’s been nearly seven years since The Blue Aeroplanes graced the world with their album Anti-Gravity. Now the Bristolians are back with their fourteenth studio album Welcome, Stranger! And it’s a welcomed return for a band who exquisitely blend poetry, folk, punk, dance and rock music, famed for twisting old sounds into new art.
Opening track Looking For X’s On A Map kick starts the album with a smattering of cool Lou Reed vibes combined with the desperate urgency of Iggy Pop. There is no time to pause, as second track Sweet, Like Chocolate crashes out of the speakers in good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll fashion. Retro Moon sees singer Gerard Langley almost rap in parts, as he riffs over the music with poetic intent. His words are stern and focused, again, reminiscent of Lou Reed’s style.
The Blue Aeroplanes have always sat on the edge of scenes, which might account for the band’s ability to fly under the radar. But as musical tastes have shifted and young bands delve deeper into the 80s for influences, certain artists have emulated The Blue Aeroplanes along the way, bringing their sound to the forefront of the music scene. Because of this they, perhaps, sound more mainstream now than ever.
On the surface, Welcome, Stranger! is a rock album that sounds great from the opening chords and one which has plenty to it’s credit. The songs are strong and hark back to America’s 60s garage rock, provoking images of smoke-filled clubs like CBGB.
But that influence is at the heart of The Blue Aeroplanes’ sound and people who know the band will be expecting that rock/poetry signature. This means that while the latest LP by The Blue Aeroplanes is another credible entry to the band’s much adored canon, it’s nothing that their fans won’t have heard before.
Verdict: Likeable, but safe