Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The Blue Aeroplanes picked a card and took their spoken word poetics and the sizzling sonic soundscapes to the dizzying heights of this weightless world view.     The group is centered on the trio of  brother Gerard and John Langley with Wojtek Dmochowski who had been in the Bristol group Art Objects together.  They released their debut Bop Art on their own Party label before getting picked up by independent Fire Records for Tolerance,   Spitting Out Miracles, and the Friendloverplane compilation.  

After an opening slot with R.E.M. for their 'Green' tour, a demo of five new songs recorded at a charity gig at Bristol's Colston Hall circulated around several major labels.    Chrysalis subsidiary Ensign were the only label not to ask the band to re-record the demo.  

'Swagger' features Gerard Langley on vocals;    John Langley on drums, percussion, and backing vocals;  Andy McCreeth on bass;   mainstay dance performer Wojtek Dmochowski;    the triple guitar onslaught of Angelo Bruschini on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and backing vocals;  Alex Lee on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, and organ;  and Rodney Allen on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals, and backing vocals;          with      Ian Kearey on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, organ, harmonium, bass, hammered dulcimer, tiple, and mandolin;  Michael Stipe and Boo Hewaerdine on backing vocals;   Nigel Eaton on hurdy gurdy;  Luis Jardine on percussion;  Clare Hirst on saxophone;  and Nick Jacob on electric guitar.   The sessions at Genetic Sound in Streatley, Berkshire were produced by Gil Norton and engineered by Al Clay.  

Gerard reveals:   “It was meant to be a statement-type of album at the time. A lot of people didn’t think a band as a weird as us would sign to a major label. We were like, ‘Hey, we’re not that fucking weird. Listen to this.’ That’s why it’s called ‘Swagger’. There was a certain amount of ‘Right this is it’ kind of thing. Musically we had a really shit-hot line up...When we signed to Chrysalis, they said ‘Who do you want as a producer?’ and they said you can have anyone you want. So I said I wanted either, Jeff Lynne, Lindsey Buckingham, or (Poison) Ivy Rorschach from the Cramps. And they said, ‘You can’t have Jeff Lynn because he’s too expensive, you can’t have Ivy Rorschach because we don’t know who she is, and you can’t have Lindsay Buckingham because he’s insane. So they said ‘You can have Gil Norton’, so I said ‘Who’s he?’ He’d just done the Triffids’ 'Calenture’, ‘Ocean Rain’ for the Bunnymen and the Pixies’ ‘Doolittle’ and I thought ‘That’s a pretty good set of three’.”

Gerard considers the influences of his spoken word style:   “It was actually Lou Reed. In my very first band we did a cover of ‘Waiting for the Man.’ I was thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, he’s not actually singing anything here. He’s only using two notes’ ... It’s difficult to sit a lot of my words into tunes, so I thought, ‘I don’t even need to, do I? I just need to get people to write riffs and guitar tunes.’ ... We always did have some that have got singing on it, so I don’t just talk all the time, and I don’t just sing all the time. It’s a mixture of the two.  Another big influence on me was Laurie Anderson. I just thought that’s really cool. She’ll sing a bit. She’ll speak a bit and use her voice for a narrative. It’s an easy way to get stuff over. People do it quite a lot. Jim Morrison did it...Doing speaking, singing stuff does throw more emphasis on the words. You can’t hide behind the tune”

'Swagger' reached fifty-four on the UK National Chart and was also top ten on the US Rolling Stone Alternative Chart.   It was Rock Album of the year in the Times, the Sunday Times, and the Independent On Sunday

"Jacket Hangs"
video directed by Hugh Thomson

"And Stones"

"Your Ages"

full album:

1 Jacket Hangs  (Angelo Bruschini / Gerard Langley)   3:42
2 World View Blue  (Bruschini / Langley)  3:20  
3 Weightless  (Bruschini / Langley)   5:01
4 And Stones  (Bruschini / Langley)  5:27
5 Love Come Round  (Langley)  3:48
6 Your Ages  (Langley)   4:27
7 The Applicant  (Silvia Plath / Richard Bell)  4:02
8 What It Is (Langley)  6:17
9 Anti-Pretty (Bruschini / Langley)  4:30
10 Careful Boy (Rodney Allen)  4:21
11 Picture Framed  (Langley)  1:53
12 Cat-Scan Hist'ry (Bruschini)  6:26

MTV special 1990

interview 1990 =OCbQi7iyW74

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