Review: Down to Earth by Flight Facilities

Down to Earth by Flight FacilitiesAfter years of singles, Aussie DJ duo Flight Facilities finally roll out their debut album. Down to Earth skews firmly towards the downtempo side of their discography – little space for an “I Didn’t Believe”-type here, but tracks like “Sunshine” and “What Do You Feel” fill the void somewhat. Filling the rest is the presence of some familar songs: “Stand Still” and “Clair de Lune” feature prominently, as well as their breakout “Crave You”, complete with reprise featuring a certain Kylie Minogue. That said, I can’t help but feel Down to Earth is a bit of a missed opportunity. I might sound like I’m nitpicking, but it has something to do with the duo’s decision to (also) firmly stick with the whole flight metaphor. It works, yes – I’m coming to this as a guy who thinks Singapore Airlines’ classical music interludes during take-off and landing need a refresh – but then again riding an airplane is not a solitary, serene experience. You can argue that the record’s supposed to be escapist, a bit fantastic in the images it evokes, but the middle part was missing that punch that got me excited to Flight Facilities’ singles. That said, the end – both versions of “Crave You” – really sold the rush of the landing part. Down to Earth is a good album. Could be better, but still good. Singapore Airlines, go do an Air France and throw this into the soundtrack. [NB] | 4/5


“And it could be me, and it could be thee.”

“When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease” by Roy Harper | Tomorrow marks ten years since the death of John Peel, the BBC Radio 1 DJ known for his eclectic musical tastes. Throughout most of his radio career – from Dallas around the time of John Kennedy’s death, to the pirate radio stations half-heartedly immortalized in The Boat That Rocked, to his 37 years with the BBC – he has championed numerous genres and artists, giving bands such as Billy Bragg, the Fall and the White Stripes critical support in their early days. His late night show was also an early champion of the burgeoning British punk scene, as well as reggae and dance music. It’d be easy to write about the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks”, his most favorite song – you can argue that his support led, many years later, to that One Direction cover – but I’ll write instead about this song. British folk artist Roy Harper released this song on his 1975 album HQ; Peel wanted his longtime producer John Walters to play this song when he dies. Didn’t quite happen, as Walters died before Peel did; it was up to the latter to play the song. Now, I haven’t heard Peel’s show once – his death coincided with the beginning of my interest in British radio – but his legacy on music is one even I feel, and not just because I listen to BBC 6 Music. It could be the sting in the ale. [NB]


“Trade you a tune for some gasoline.”

“Automechanic” by Jenny O. | I’d like to think this blog has had a hand in forcing the producers of the ABC series Selfie (you know, the one with the girl from Doctor Who and the guy from the new Star Trek films) to give their theme song a name. Two weeks ago I watched the sitcom’s second episode, saw the titles, went on music blogger mode, and looked through Emily Kapnek’s Twitter account for details. Back then we only knew the theme was sung by singer-songwriter Jenny O. First, about Jenny – she’s based in Los Angeles, but grew up in Long Island; she released her debut full-length, Automechanic, last year; and her songs have appeared on television shows such as True Blood and Wilfred, both of which I watched at one point or another. This song shows her rugged sensibility, her unique vocal, and that swagger I did not expect after hearing the Selfie theme song. Oh, speaking of that theme song: I told Emily (who co-wrote the song with Jared Faber) that a bunch of us are interested in the song (I did get some Twitter feedback while searching), and over the weekend, they uploaded it on Soundcloud: it’s called “I’m Looking At Me: Ballad of Narcissus”. It needs a full version. Also, hello, Jenny. [NB]


“We are not children anymore.”

“Turn Away” by Laura Moody | London-based Laura Moody is, well, moody. At least her music is. After working with the string group the Elysian Quartet, she has set out on her own, and is now preparing to release her debut record, Acrobats, on 3 November. I’ve had an early listen – it would’ve been an earlier listen had I not unwittingly sat on this email for two months; such is the life of a hobbyist – and it is, well, moody. Sparse, intense, thought-provoking both in its quietness and its explosions, injected at the right moments. “Turn Away” – the track I’m focusing on, the track widely available now on her Soundcloud page – is beautiful in its claustrophobia; it lets you breathe despite, well, the whole motif of catching your breath. I can’t quite explain it. It’s mesmerizing, to put it simply. The album comes out, again, the Monday after next. Thank you to Alison for the heads-up. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)


“The more you try denying, the more you fan the flames.”

“Not This Time” by the 2 Bears | Yep, that’s the number, not the word. I’m OC when it comes to this, but there you go. This is another nice slice of groove, from the second album from the British duo, comprised of producer Raf Rundell and Joe Goddard, best known for his work with Hot Chip. It’s classy and smooth, inevitably helped by that irresistible intro that reminds me of glittering disco balls not slathered with the worst of the genre’s cheese. Like yacht rock mixed in with the usual modern twist. I’ll just say I love this. [NB]


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