Airship – Algebra EP

Release Date 10/05/2010 (Love & Disaster)

By Chris Oliver

Manchester band Airship’s ‘Algebra EP’ sounds like it was made by taking the 90’s indie scene and putting it in a blender, but it’s clearly for the modern audience. It fits well alongside the new wave of Scottish bands like ‘Band of Horses’, ‘We Were Promised Jetpacks’ and ‘Twin Atlantic’ (whom Airship recently supported).

‘Algebra’ is a poppy number in the mould of old Ash tunes, but with the space-y guitars and staccato harmonies recently popular with so many Scot-rockers. ‘Never Awake’ is rather post-grunge with a vocal melody that sounds like Placebo’s ‘A Friend in Need’ and a guitar line that sounds like ‘Where is my Mind’ by the Pixies. It’s my personal favourite on this record, with its Dave Grohl-like drums, and aggressive guitar work. ‘Spirit Party’ is the most melodic and multi-layered effort. If I were a record executive, I’d pick up on this as their single – and I’d probably try and flog it for the closing montage of whatever people watch instead of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ nowadays. The EP ends on a bit of a down note with ‘Go to Sleep’. Breathy vocals are laid over piano and synth, with the bass guitar taking the melody, and the guitarist making whale noises in the background. It more or less does what is says on the tin.

As a record, the production and mixing are not top drawer – but for an unsigned band on a budget, it’s admirably good; there are some very sweet touches in there. It’s got that raw sound that radio presenters seem overly fond of nowadays, and yet in places, it accommodates both the mechanical regularity of electric beats and the evocative tones of the cello and its stringed friends.

It’s the sort of recording that will do it’s job – it will get more people to listen to Airship, and it will probably make it onto Radio 6 before the money men flush the nation’s best-loved yet least-listened station down the pan. However, (and it’s probably because I’ve seen and heard so many bands like them lately) I haven’t warmed to this EP all that much. It’s not quite up to the standard of the Airship live show, and it’s not particularly fresh. If you can’t get enough of indie/alternative, then get a hold of this by all means, but it’s nothing mind-blowing.

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