The Blue Aeroplanes: Welcome, Stranger! review – jangling like it’s 1991

(Art Star)

“I tapped directions on the app,” begins the new record by Bristol stalwarts the Blue Aeroplanes, whose heyday was the 80s/90s cusp; they were beloved by REM. Welcome, Stranger! is pointedly set in the present day, but the Aeroplanes – dormant for many years since 2011’s Anti-Gravity – still play guitars so jangly they almost sound like bagpipes on Sweet, Like Chocolate. The main draw of this art-rock band (they have a dancer) remains the offhand, half-spoken work of poet-frontman Gerard Langley, who now teaches at Bristol’s BIMM music college. You do wonder what he would sound like with a less self-consciously hidebound band, but once again Langley veers between the mundane (Dead Tree! Dead Tree!) and the captivating (Poetland) with Puckish – and punkish – inconstancy. Ranting here, muttering there.

The Blue Aeroplanes – Elvis Festival

Contributor

Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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