I love how People in Planes blend a muscly, guitar-driven, hard rock sound with Britrock atmospherics, letting in glimmers of industrial dance rock and jam hooks. Beyond the Horizon’s “Last Man Standing” trends toward the hard rock, whereas “Mayday (M’aidez)” swings to the club rock spin. Both have an urgency that fuels People in Planes for their take off.
“Get on the Flaw” has a groove and prowl built upon a strings riff that begins the song, finally cruising right up to a smash down chorus. “Better Than Life” is a rage-fueled drag race leading to the parachute of a swagger chorus. The drum march kick off for “Beyond the Horizon” defines the song’s razor clean edge.
People in Planes first caught my attention, though, with “Pretty Buildings” and its video, glimpsing people inside their apartments in their daily, hurting lives. It’s a song of short scenario verses, vignettes which all lead to the chorus: “And you know it hurts like hell,/So come out of the closet/Let’s talk about it
And you know it hurts like hell,/That’s you in a nutshell!”
The piano-led melody embodies the compassion in this song, enveloping the characters of the song and the listeners who have these deep hurts. That tenderness also comes on the mid-album acoustic-led “Flesh and Blood,” crying out against what piles up against us, as Gareth Jones sings in an Anthony Kedis-type voice. That compassion seems to be a common trait of Wind-Up Records artists. It’s something I see in Pilot Speed, Jeremy Fisher, Evanescence, and Scott Strapp.
Note: The chorus about coming out of the closet seems to imply homosexuality—at least to Americans. Apparently for the Welsh band and many other English speaking people outside of the U.S., “out of the closet” still has the broader meaning of encouraging people to stop hiding from whatever ails them. The song is about encouraging people who are struggling with many different kinds of hurts. They came come forward, talk about their feelings, reach out for support, and see the love that people have for them.