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The Blue Aeroplanes release their new album Welcome, Stranger, which showcases an interesting blend of rock, folk, poetry, punk, dance and art.
Welcome, Stranger is the band's twelfth studio album. This is the longest-lasting Aeroplanes line up to date and sees original members Gerard Langley (poet/singer), and John Langley (drummer), sometimes with Wojtek Dmochowski (dancer) joined by Gerard Starkie, formerly the main man of Witness and an Aeroplane since 2006, Chris Sharp (bassist and owner of The Fleece venue in Bristol), a band member since 2008, and the more recent additions Bec Jevons (guitarist and front-person of I Destroy) and guitarist Mike Youe.
Musically there is nothing to fault here. The sticking point will be whether you can get on with lead singer's (Gerard Langley) vocals. While, at first, they grated with me... after a week's worth of listening to this album I started to mellow to him. I think the problem for me is that he hides the fact that he can't actually sing by rebranding himself as a poet.
Calling Langley a poet, however, is stretching it a bit. In places ('Walking Under Ladders for a Living' being the most obvious example) I was convinced I was listening to a US version of The Flight of the Conchords. Are the vocals deliberately cheesy? Twelve albums would indicate that Langley is just messing with the format and taking the proverbial out of the seriousness of poets and song writers... well, I hope that's the case, and his ramblings in the track 'Poetland' would seem to indicate he's having a laugh at the industries expense.
The album contains 10 songs (41 min, 42 sec) 'Skin' is the only track where everything gels together well - sadly it's also one of the weakest songs on the album. Musically, I really enjoyed this album. Vocally... I'm still trying to get on with the presentation.