Paper Airplane Pilots

The History of Flying

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Within The History of Flying's first six minutes, you learn that "She's Magnetic," "She's a Liquid," and that "She flows to the satellite like raspberry pie." The identity of "she" isn't really important -- it can be assumed she's the ideal of the power pop cosmos, the Absolute Woman -- but if you need a name, Paper Airplane Pilots main brain Jeremiah Wallis is happy to provide. There's the giddy, leather pants turn-on of "Olivia" ("You can be my Mrs. Robinson!"), and "Sweet Annie"'s scatterbrained Kinks allure. Maybe that's you joining Jeremiah on the chorus to the lusty, rousing singalong "Anna (I'm Coming Home)." No? Then perhaps the quiet cello and acoustic guitar of "Eva Braun" are more your speed. Wallis and Paper Airplane Pilots dip into all of these moods with equal dedication and an admirable lack of pretension. This is important, because in power pop everyone knows the score. The Pilots are as gaga over the glorious convergence of girls, guitars, and string sections as anyone from Teenage Fanclub to the Elephant 6 collective. But, like the wiser of their fellow travelers, Wallis and his jovial crew confidently sell their own set of teenage symphonies while nodding along happily with what's come before. They often steal directly, but since it's a daylight grab with Brian Wilson as a wheelman, the theft is largely forgiven. There are nice touches all over History of Flying, like the brief, harmony-drenched "Are You in Tune?" fading into "Olivia"'s crunchy rock abandon, or the flurry of vintage tones and production touches that point to the genre's preoccupation with authenticity. At the same time, something like the spazzy, ragged "Lifer" lets Paper Airplane Pilots momentarily stop worrying about all that stuff, get hyper, and do that bedrock twitch.

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