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Mighty Fairly
Perfectly Good Airplanes
Tinderbox Music

The jangle pop often acquainted with REM has a new occupant, that of the trio Mighty Fairly, comprised of lead singer/songwriter Mischa Suemnig and multi-instrumentalists and backup vocalists Kellie Nitz and Justin Bell. The trio's debut album Perfectly Good Airplanes, produced by Fiction, has reflections of neo-folk dreamers and baroque-pop confections recalling the '60s soft pop esthetics of Ricky Nelson, The Yardbirds, and The Everly Brothers, but insulated with a more modern sustenance of sunny pop. It is odd that the music has a sunny pop countenance when the lyrical content is about the process of withdrawing from a relationship and the emotional conflicts which surface from the separation; like retaliation, reconciliation, and feeling one's way to true acceptance of the circumstances.

Lyrically, the album serves one purpose and that is to express the overwhelming emotions that erupt due to separating oneself from another. Musically, the album is an indie-pop botanical likened to The Boy Least Likely To and The Unicorns, adorning guitar and bass lines with fragments of glockenspiel chimes, bowers of Wurlitzer keys, and tendrils of electric piano jitters doused in channels of keytar and African marimba textures. The soft tempo and sunny pop disposition of "Like A Ghost" is in opposition to the sorrowful lyrics: "You said it was love/ Faithful and blind/ You finish me off like a sentence…Our time together is fading like a ghost…You're out the door like a sprinter/ Kiss me again one more time before the road…Didn't think we'd end so fast like a ghost."

The track "Superheroes" also shrouds sad lyrics with elegant neo-folk acoustics and gentle vocals similar to Matt Costa as Suemnig sings: "In my mind you are my lover/ In my mind we are together/ Fighting violence like superheroes/ And Sunday we'd save the world." The lyrical phrases are romantic and sometimes use expletives to express retaliation from those emotions that wish to stay in the relationship. Though the lyrics show a tug-of-war conflict emotionally, the music has a jangle pop shine and neo-folk psychedelics creating an optimistic glow like a rainbow around woeful feelings.

The heavy bass grooves of "Wake Up" have a So Cal smoothness like The Beach Boys, while the avant-pop textures of "Last Stand Started' permeate the mid-tempo number with a myriad of tints gelled similarly to Baby Teeth. There is a youthful innocence in the music, like in the songs "Lackluster" and "Dosage" which have a hopeful bounce in the pop rhythms. The '60s mod-ish acoustic guitar plucks on "It's A Shame" and "Do You" are stylishly modern and the jangly tambourine beats of "Give Up" reinforce the band's attachment to '60s soft pop. The tender drum and guitar strokes for "Movin' On" perk up with flapping glockenspiel chimes while the sunny pop hues of "Seeing You" cast a neo-folk glide.

Mighty Fairly has composed an album with almost every possible shade of pop music availed to them, except for the hard rock part of the pop spectrum. The music is easy on the ears like a new adult contemporary format that fits in with pop artists like All Smiles, Aqueduct, Vive Voce and Mates Of State. It is like a new generation who look at music the way REM did, as a blank canvas that you can put anything you want on as long as it adds texture to the context of the story being portrayed, which is what Mighty Fairly have achieved with their debut album Perfectly Good Airplanes.

-Susan Frances

Track Listing:
1. Last Stand Started
2. Lackluster
3. Wake Up
4. It's A Shame
5. Like A Ghost
6. Dosage
7. Do You
8. Give Up
9. Movin' On
10. Seeing You
11. Superheroes

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