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MP3 Paper Airplane Pilots - The History of Flying

What is it so many power pop fans are constantly searching for? Why, it''s a band like the Paper Airplane Pilots with right combination of harmonies, the right batch of chords, a keener sense of melody than the rest, and the quirky sensibility to give it a

16 MP3 Songs
POP: Power Pop, POP: British Pop

Rarely does a young pop singer/guitarist like Head Pilot Jeremiah Wallis come along and show the maturity and confidence of a well-seasoned songwriting veteran. The charming wit, playfulness, and most importantly, downright toe-tappingness of the tunes is plain. To makes things even better, the very best of Wallis'' first batch of tracks are tackled on the debut, with a graceful sequencing most bands don''t achieve until subsequent releases. He and the rest of the Pilots understand how to effectively assemble an album that not only hooks and rocks, but also varies in tempo, tone, voice and theme despite it having only one principal songwriter throughout.

Ten year partner-in-crime and guitarist/drummer/backing vocalist Ryan Duffy''s fingerprints are also all over this masterpiece in terms of arrangement, melodic and rhythmic counterpoint and most importantly, rock-solid execution. Duffy''s less-is-more approach to lead guitar work is the right side of revivalist, especially in the current era of 256 track overdubs and technical wankery. Most importantly, it''s his instincts that serve him well, as several of the songs'' arrangements are ameliorated by Duffy''s short guitar melodies complementing Jeremiah''s bombastic power chords perfectly. And his steady-as-she-goes drumming on "Exist You" and "She''s a Liquid" serve up some of the juiciest pockets of the entire album and illustrate well his versatility as the musical anchor of the Pilots.

The duo began from humble beginnings a few miles west of Chicago, emerging out of soon-to-be-legendary Somonauk, IL. As early as high school, dreams of playing loud guitars in sweaty bars were filling the heads of the twin Pilot founders. The band was initially composed of Jeremiah handling vocals and guitar, Ryan handling the drums and backing vocals, and childhood chum Eric "Sweat Inc." Stegemann delivering the goods on the bass and backing vocals. In 1998, Jeremiah moved to Chicago and Stegemann and Duffy moved on to ISU, and the band began to cut their teeth on gigs downstate. Ryan decided in 2000 that a move to Chicago after ISU was necessary to take a crack at bigger stages. Ryan also then decided to deliberately focus more on his guitarist side, and the search for a drummer began. It wasn''t long before they landed "Joliet" Joe Chellino and began work on recording and gigging all over the city. The self-released 7 track ep "Welcome to the Drunk Tank" hinted at greater things to come in 2001, and they focused their efforts on finally assembling a proper full-length on the heels of that. And although from beginning to end their debut took almost two years to put together, fans agree that the wait was well worth it.

Finally completed in March of 2003, the entirely self-produced and self-recorded effort (as all Pilots recording have been) was topped off deliciously with mixing and mastering by veteran engineer Mark Schwarz (Freakwater, Neko Case, Chamber Strings). The 16 tracks have it all, from ballsy rockers ("She''s Magnetic," "She Reduces Me") to softer soliloquies ("Eva Braun,") to mid tempo sing-a-longs ("Anna"). It perfectly illustrates the strongest influences of the Pilots (most notably Teenage Fanclub''s "Bandwagonesque", Nirvana''s "Nevermind" and Material Issue''s "International Pop Overthrow"), and the best of the very high points the Pilots have already achieved as well as charting a flight plan ahead.

After a series of recent lineup changes, including the departure of "History of Flying" rhythm section Stegeman and Chellino, the Pilots have recently come up aces with new bassist Jim Kompare (ex-Uniform) and new drummer Tom Collier. They continue to assault audiences all over Chicago and as of Summer 2004 will be on tour all over the Midwest and East Coast.

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