Playing Glastonbury just a handful of months after forming, Carlow’s Shouting at Planes have been marked by potential from the get-go. A band that’s been quietly establishing a name for themselves over the past few years ‘St. Jude’ is their second EP following 2011’s ‘Surrender’, further kicking the can down the road on their long-gestating debut full-length album. Fortunately ‘St. Jude’ will suffice until then. It’s good. It’s very good.
Opening with Concrete Jungle, a moody, bass-led blues piece, hushed vocals and background guitar swells providing lovely atmosphere. It shuffles steadily until the three-minute mark, where it cracks into a wonky riff, before building back again with cacophonous lead lines and sax. It’s brilliant opener and primer for what’s to come. The more funk-oriented Two features lyrics meditating on confusion about identity, with big chords for the chorus and a nifty guitar solo with lead and rythym trade-offs.
Throughout, the songs are filled out with saxophone to great effect, often playing over outros and accompanying guitar solos. Bolstered by Martin Quinn’s commendable production, the sax repeatedly rears its head throughout the EP and really adds depth to many of the arrangements, never feeling intrusive or incongruous.
A Falling Out With Television‘s chords reverberate over the beat’s muted snare and carry along a great vocal hook. The almost dancefloor funk of Can’t keep Up is a beat driven nod-along, the melody provided by the bouncy vocals, turning midway to a meaty riff that would be worthy of Queens of the Stone Age; an impression hammered home with the solo that follows with its wonky, strangled guitar squeals.
Floating In The Grey is a piano and chorus-vocal piece, accompanied by swelling strings and guitar, cymbal rushes, minor background percussion and a horn section, all descending into radio static. It’s quite short, though undoubtedly effective in its dense instrumentation and lush arrangement, revealing a bold, confident flair for experimentation. It’s almost Gorillaz-esque. It really is quite difficult to overstate how good this song sounds and, as does the EP as a whole, demands repeated listens.
Influences glare here and there throughout ‘St. Jude’, but any comparisons are not really fair. Nowhere does this band sound like they are imitating anyone. What they sound like, rather, is a band that has found their sound and are exploring it in earnest, and the results are great – there’s not a bad song on here. Listening to ‘St. Jude’, it is clear that these lads are on to something. Hurry up with that album, lads. Sound!