We Can't Fly

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The Italian/Belgian duo Aeroplane made a name for themselves in the late 2000s with remixes (most notably for Friendly Fires' “Paris”), and though they lost a member along the way, arrived with a full-length album in late 2010. Featuring many guest appearances and a wide-ranging sound that takes in elements of prog rock, disco, alt-rock, modern club sounds, and old-school electronic music, We Can’t Fly is an ambitious debut by an artist (Vito Deluca) who may have bitten off more than he can chew. The songs like "We Can’t Fly" and "Caramellas" that stick to the established Aeroplane sound of very smooth, very sleek electro-pop work the best; they have a restrained and warm feeling that conjures up late-night chillout sessions (in a good way). Unfortunately, the bulk of the album is extremely hit or miss. While his ear for electro-disco is perfectly trained, the songs that attempt to stretch into new areas fall flat. "Good Riddance" is a wooden-sounding try at indie rock, "Mountains of Moscow" is the worst kind of pretentious soundtrack music, and Deluca ropes in Merry Clayton (who famously sang on the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter") to sing on the plodding rock track "I Don’t Feel," but she can’t save it from being completely generic. A couple songs work fairly well; Au Revoir Simone's harmonies on the half-written ballad "We Fall Over" are nice, "Fish in the Sky" is a welcome dash of synth pop drama, and until the guitar solo comes in to wreck things, "My Enemy" is a nicely throbbing slice of Moroder-lite. Overall though, these non-disco tracks lack any punch, have uninteresting arrangements filled with wanky guitar heroics, and oddly enough for someone coming at it from an electronic background, the synth tones feel like presets most of the time. While it’s important to have ambition, Deluca probably should have stuck to the sound he does so well. His desire to stretch makes We Can’t Fly a misfire of an album. It would have made a nice EP though....

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