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People In Planes
Beyond The Horizon
Wind-Up Records
www.peopleinplanes.com


I was officially introduced to this amazing band from Wales about 2 years ago at a little local festival. My intrigue sparked when I first heard As Far As The Eye Can See, the first release for People In Planes (as People In Planes). That album had hinted at the notion of their pure genius as a band, but I never thought I'd hear an album like this one.

When the news of a new PIP album came across my ears, I was way too excited. Why do I say way too excited? Well because the first single off the album "Pretty Buildings" was made available about mid-February, however the street date of the album wasn't scheduled 'til mid-June. But then again, I do love it when so much excitement and enthusiasm for an album can be generated by one song. Between catching them live at SXSW in Austin and living off the masterpiece single, I was counting down the days before the release.

June 24th - Beyond The Horizon has officially hit stores and it is truly amazing! Each song is a different journey and a different story. You can't skip through the songs, you have to give each one it's deserved time. To pick a favorite on this album would be impossible. Just to start off you have "Last Man Standing." And within the first few moments of the song, you're transformed into Clint Eastwood in the old West. It's low, deep, strong-willed and powerful. "I am a last man stand survivor" are lyrics that just make you wanna go out and kick some butt. The piano and bass guitar make a perfect couple in this song, really pounding out the emotion. Next on the album is "Mayday (M'aidez)" which gets a little more techno. The chorus is infectious: "Help me, help me you know me better than I know myself!" You can tell there's more of an electronic presence from the keys, which really create a sense of insanity. I can see this one performed in a very large arena with thousands of screaming fans singing along. "Pretty Buildings" comes in at number 4. The piano in this one is absolutely beautiful and Gareth's voice is like a silk blanket over the enchanting rhythms. "Cause you know it hurts like hell/so come out of the closet, let's talk about it/cause you know it hurts like hell" are lyrics that evoke a strong emotion, no matter how they are sung. I never thought I'd be a fan of the synchronized snaps, but in this song it works. The snaps flow into drums that just continuously build until they explode into the lead guitar from Pete. If someone put a gun to my head and made me pick a favorite song on the album I would have to say it is "Better Than Life." Sure the beginning seems like nothing special, nothing more than a typical rock beat, but if you wait, just a little more… you'll be brought into the chorus: "It's like a wet dream, with you!" It's so unbelievably powerful, that you are at the mercy of your stereo to crank it up. The song goes back into a bit more simple tempo, but you're just anticipating that chorus again. I could play this song over and over again, turning up the volume with each play. It makes me want to learn the guitar, just so I can play that one riff that repeats through the chorus.

Down a couple songs is "Know By Now," which, if the album didn't have "Pretty Buildings," I would say was the obligatory ballad. Though it's more of a rock ballad, than a weepy, emotional emo one; not too complex of a song, yet it produces another catchy chorus. "Tonight The Sun Will Rise" is probably one of the most unique songs on the album. The electronic effects that bust out right at the beginning make you think the band made a club hit but if you really break it down, this is a rather quick song. The tempo is insanely fast. The guitar comes in a few times with a little twist: not exactly notes, but not a chord either. It almost beckons a comparison to Peter Frampton and the famous talking guitar. It could just be an electronic modification to a simple guitar stroke, or it could not.

The last song I'll address is "Vampire" and the reason being because this was another song that the band debuted in America at SXSW. Lyrics speak of classic vampire characteristics: blood, death, etc. It starts out with a creepy guitar, not too prominent, but definitive for sure. This song is another one with so many levels to it. It proves that with this album you can't judge a song by the first 30 seconds, you really have to listen to the whole thing before you'll truly appreciate it. I don't know why but I could definitely see this song on Guitar Hero - the expert level of course.

As you can tell I absolutely loved this album! Each song is completely different, leaving you guessing for what's next. The band is brilliant and masterful with their newest creation. I cannot wait until they make another trip through the States.

-Rachel Fredrickson

[editor's note: Beyond The Horizon is due to be released September 9, 2008]

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