It would be fair to say that Paper Aeroplanes have fuelled their career on nostalgia. With the likes of Red Rover drawing parallels with playground games and love, and Singing To Elvis using bygone heroes to encapsulate memories, the majority of their set draws you into different times and places. In turn it becomes clear it’s their ability to turn poetic lyrics into visual moments which is their strength.
Nevertheless when the sound is mixed properly, Paper Aeroplanes are transformed from a softer acoustic band to one worthy of a much larger venue than The Art Bar. Tonight the sound is faultless, and they move from their softer style to an anthemic sound. It’s thanks to this careful mixing that John Parker’s double bass takes on a life of it’s own, fusing with Sarah and Richard’s guitar parts to create a richer sound than I’ve witnessed from the band before.
This combination of finely crafted melodies over poignant lyrics creates a set to be reckoned with, and as they weave their way through their back catalogue Skies on Fire from their first EP nestles up against the title track of their lasted LP Little Letters. Whilst it’s Sarah’s intonation of the lyrics which conveys the meaning, the addition of piano from support singer Jez Wing (of Cousin Jac) on Multiple Love moves it closer to its recorded counterpart, adding to the melancholic sound of the song.
For me it’s Ribbons, which is stripped back to just Sarah and Richard, that becomes one of the highlights of the night. The softer sound captures the audiences attention, leaving the duo’s harmonies to fill the venue with their intricate sounds. For a moment you could hear a pin drop, as they bring a captivated audience to a complete hush in an otherwise jostling pub venue.
Images copyright © Jo Cox. All rights reserved.