Orson in reverse? Potentially that’s the scenario with these Welsh alt popsters; big in States, but with a cult following in the U.K and with a somewhat unsuccessful prior recording history.
Formerly known as Tetra Splendour they signed with EMI in the U.K, releasing one album, ‘Mr Bishi’ and three singles before being dropped by the label and changing their name. One single (Talking Heads’) followed and with the name change an about turn in musical orientation. Out went the 60’s influenced meanderings and in came a new found maturity. Loosely influenced by album orientated bands like R.E.M and Supergrass-although the list is endless- People in Planes very quickly attracted major American independent label Wind-up, with labels closer to home shunning them perhaps holding the view that they’d had their chance previously and garnered little success. Flying in on the back of hit single ‘If You Talk Too Much’(My Head Will Explode)-it peaked at number 36 on Billboard’s modern rock chart-‘As Far As…’ has enough quirky British qualities to be different, but possesses sufficient radio friendly moments to provide adequate fodder for the American market. ‘Barracuda’s’ crunching riffs are in complete contrast to the soulfully melodic Manic Street Preachers sound-alike ‘Miles Around’ or the catchy quirkiness of the aforementioned first single. The sheer eclecticism is what makes this album hold the attention, switching ably between different styles, genres and subgenres. The Steve Miller tones of ‘Black Widow’, don’t seem out of place even alongside the Chilli Peppers tainted ‘Moth’, ‘Token Trapped Women’ or even the bluesy subterfuge of ‘Rush’-the backing vocals being reminiscent of 1970’s British cinema advertising. The somewhat tedious strains of ‘Narcoleptic’ may ironically be more in line with a cure for Insomnia, but this song is the exception rather than the rule and as a body of work ‘As Far as…’ is a successful marriage between British quirkiness and American mainstream