Reviewing music can be a tedious job. To create one, you have to take into account your interpretation of what the artist hoped to accomplish and meld it with how well you believe he or she accomplished this end, while also discussing how you feel about said hopeful interpretation accomplishment and what it means to accomplish such an interpretation… thusly.
That was so heavy and confusing my brain exploded, but that is the motion my mind went into when our editor emailed me the latest by Not An Airplane, “It Could Just Be This Place”.
What I found was the digital version of a vinyl EP: 2 actual tracks made up of about 10 songs, delivered like an indie-rock version of a classical music piece broken up into movements; almost impossible to listen to one song without another without having to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out the beginning and ends of the songs in a span of a 17 minute.
This isn’t a bad way to go about things. Too often we are looking for that catchy song, that hook that makes us say, “I like this song!” That hook rarely makes us say, “I like this band!” That’s what I think Nick Shattell and Not An Airplane were attempting to uncover from the past.
Not An Airplane has not changed much since the last time we had reviewed one of their albums. Their indie folk leanings are still there for genre recognition, however, this time around there is the essence of a concept album. At first glance, and the first few notes, you may, for better or worse, believe that you have stumbled upon another Phish album, however the voice of Nick Shattell, as well as definitive songs breaks, make sure that we do not mistake Not An Airplane as a jam band. They haven’t before, and it’s nice to see they still have not gone in that direction.
Then again, maybe the interpretations that I mentioned at the beginning of this review are wrong. Maybe the accomplishment wasn’t what I thought it was, or it was an accomplishment unintended. Luckily, I can share with you Nick Shattell’s own explanation of the album, and I can just give it a grade.
Press Release by Nick Shattell of Not an Airplane:
There is a story here, and the story is individual, much like the person and people telling it.
There is a challenge to originality.
There is a new punk attitude that needs to be sparked as the independent music world has become as classifiable as the pop culture it has countered for decades.
There is no need for genres, or singles, or anything commercially viable.
It is what the best music blogs, publications, and even record labels have started on.
It is a banishment of expectations.
It is old thought combined with new vision.
It is in your face, but it wants you to join in and sing-a-long.
Punk is in serious need of a makeover, or rebirth.
Independent (or “Indie”) Pop has become a genre.
Opposite universes have collided into one world of cookie cutter bands all seeking the most appropriate fad to help them sell a song or two.
The Beatles long ago showed us that genres were irrelevant and that anything goes as long as it is made with care, honesty, creativity, and skill.
It contains two tracks, that can never be fully recreated live, and will never be heard in the same way, anywhere else, but on this record.
It cannot be separated and sold as parts.
It cannot be listened to outside of what it is.
It is one of a kind.
If you choose to be.
I give this album 3 out of 5 Jackson Pollack paintings, seemingly rolling into one.
If that doesn’t clarify anything, you’ll be able to get the album from them on November 8th, 2011. Go to their site at notanairplane.com for more info.