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Paper Aeroplanes – Little Letters album review

Little Letters (Navigator Records) is the third full-length album from U.K indie pop/folk band Paper Aeroplanes. Although the two piece band (Sarah Howells and Richard Llewllyn) has been playing together since 2005, all three of their albums have been released within the past 4 years. Their sound is a mix of folk and pop with heavy influence being derived from their native home of Wales (in both music and lyrics). With notes of soulful and sorrowful music, Paper Aeroplanes is expertly suited to join you on a long drive across the rainy coast.

Many of the tracks are acoustically driven with Sarah Howells’ vocals floating above the instruments, however they often come across as overly simplified and lacking in progressiveness and complexity. They offer a taste of their potential in the title track Little Letters, as it expertly displays Howells’ vocal range and contains a fuller band, lending it a Florence and the Machine feel. Unfortunately Little Letters is really the only home-run on the album, with accompanying vocals and an uptempo beat, it easily outclasses the other tracks. Over the years Howells’ has collaborated with DJ’s contributing her vocals to several trance genre tracks and it is really too bad that she hasn’t transferred some of those vocal experiments into this album.

Filled with beautiful piano, slow ambling vocals, and subtle acoustic guitar chords, Paper Aeroplanes have the talent to go places but seriously need to leap off the cliff and begin taking their sound to the next level. Much of their style seems stuck in the 90s, which would surely have seen them at the top, however that level of appealing simplicity is no longer enough to establish a band as truly great. With three full-length albums released in under 4 years, there is hope that such a pace will see the band eventually stumble upon a style and sound that pushes them to the next level and releases them from the shackles of the ‘opening-act’.

By Chris Bretecher

I am a traveler, music ├ęcouteur, designer, and builder of things I design (see previous trait). When not traveling, I am listening to music, designing, and building things I design (see previous activity).

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