As Sarah begins to recount the numerous venues Paper Aeroplanes have played on their latest tour, from rooms where the dirty glasses from the night before remain unmoved, to an impromptu unplugged set in a gallery in Nottingham where the gig was moved due to noise, it would appear that the charm of the attentive Stables crowd is not lost on them. As they create their delicate music, brought together by the addition of a double bass, it’s a wonder how anyone could take their eyes off the stage, yet alone make a sound.
Live the music is even more passionate than recorded, Sarah’s vocals both heartbreaking and tender and Richard’s musical and vocal harmonies blending with the lyrics and the depth of the bass to create a sound which at time is sombre and at others almost celestial. Whilst new song Palm of Your Hand has a moody quality to it, rivalling the likes of Laura Marling for its bleakness, Stones Inside Your Shoes has a paradoxically uplifting quality despite thematically approaching the idea that you can’t leave the past behind. Here the music has a sunny vibe to it, delivering a sense of promise alongside the warning.
Lyrically the songs range from the naivety of Freewheel, reminiscing happier childhood times, to Same Mistakes which carries a message of caution that is almost parental. However it’s Winter Never Comes which really marks the depth of poetry that the band create. As Sarah sings ‘So I’ll fly away when the leaves begin to fall/ fly away when the cold wind blows against my door/fly away to hide beneath the sun/I’m leaving in September so winter never comes’ over subtle harmonies from the boys, it feels almost like a deathbed whisper.
With the more upbeat My First Love closing the show, I’m reminded that Paper Aeroplanes manage to fill their songs with a sense of loss, whilst creating melodies that cling in your mind until you’re singing the songs in your sleep. Combine this with Sarah and Richard’s unplugged stint in the middle of the crowd at the end of the night with Cliché and hometown inspired Newport Beach, which has the power to make you visualise the mountains and sea of which they sing, and I begin to wonder why they’re still playing in small venues. Like a cup of peppermint tea on a cold winter’s day, they are comforting and reassuring, whilst still retaining a vibrancy and freshness.