London Plane is a pop band from New York. The band revolves around the voice of Jessica Elizabeth Cole, who is a powerful singer. She has a clear emotive voice, and she wails out these songs. In a way she reminds me of Annie Lennox, but her voice is not as husky as Lennox's voice. But like Lennox, there is a precision in the words, a clarity to the way Cole forms the sounds.
The music that the band puts behind her is sparkling new wavish pop. The obvious reference point is M83. But Cole's voice pushes this band past just being another M83 clone.
New York Howl starts the record off with a nice guitar jangle. It's a happy little song bouncing along, and then Cole comes in, her voice rich and emotive. This is a good, classic pop tune.
They kick off Roxanne (not a Police cover) with a rumbling bass riff, Grant Parker laying down a deep groove. And then in the chorus someone whistles! I like that there is a whistling part. It adds a whimsical level to pop music, and, well, whistling is one of the very few actual musical skills that i have, so i appreciate it when i hear it. This is a very fun tune.
London Plane up the tension on Cloud Light, with tapped drums and dramatic guitar trills giving this a darker feeling than the previous three songs. Guitarist David Mosley adds his voice as a shadow to Cole, which adds a slight Tindersticks feel to the song. On the bridge the drums kick up, the keys swell, and it gets very dramatic as the voices warble "goodbye" in unison. Not bad at all.
If It Got Me You continues the jangly new wave feel of New York Howl, but after that one the band takes a little bit of a detour into Synthpop. Itís Not Over Anymore is a sparkling keyboard tune with upbeat vocals, Cole singing "It keeps getting better".
The guitar on Hearts sounds kind of Interpol-ish, and she sings very directly, her voice warbling but very clear. The song grooves a long happily, that guitar driving it. Another great pop tune.
They take us deep into the 1980s for The Farther Down We Go, with scattered echoed drums, Cole singing hushes, and burbling keyboards. In the middle of the song Cole has a spoken word part, just to make sure that you got the M83 connection. Still, it's not bad, and they continue the feel, if not the spoken word bridge, on Make It On Our Own.
The guitars really shine on Parting Days, David Mosley and Kristofer Widholm trading chiming licks and keyboardist Julian Tulip lays a pulsing under the vocals. This is a fun retro tune.
The final song on the record is the only real mis-step here. You Can Be Normal has an odd and awkward chugging waltz rhythm to it. It is just does not seem to flow, and the song never really works for me.
London Plane do a good job of capturing the sort of wide-eyed innocent optimism of the 1980s, and they make some catchy pop tunes. They are not really pushing any boundaries here, but this is a pleasant release.