Columbus, OH alterna-pop quartet Yellow Paper Planes sound like a band from that was born in a rust belt state. There is a certain feel to midwestern music, one, which people who are not from there or haven’t at least spent a good amount of time there, just won’t understand. This midwestern aesthetic is noticeable in the gloom which floats just below the surface on Yellow Paper Planes debut EP Feather's Touch.
The EP opens with “Knock Once” with slow and charming rambles of creeping and twang-y guitar and bouncy bass and percussion. Singer-guitarist j. p. james slowly and evenly laments his tale, at times introspectively reflecting on his own problems and at times on those of another of whom he is offering his help to, using the metaphor of a closed door to illustrate a distance between himself and someone else. This is followed by the bluesy alt country rocker “Double Life,” which takes on a double life of its own with slow and meandering verses followed by chunky and pounding choruses.
“Good Lovers” is another alt-country rock-rambler that unfolds into a head swaying and handclapping ballad backed with powerful backing vocals. However after “Good Lovers” reaches its apex, it begins to slow and eventually fizzles to dead end, like a firework. And this is a metaphor, which fits the compositions of Yellow Paper Planes songs to a T.
They take off well, showing promise, though somewhere in the middle they begin to have engine trouble and come crashing down, not landing on their intended target. The final track on Feather's Touch, “Ghost” is another example of this crash and burn song composition. Though musically it is the dirtiest and grungiest track on the EP, it sounds more like a jam session than a fully realized song.
The four songs on Feather’s Touch sound more like a musical collage more than anything else. The ideas are there but they’re still a bit messy at times. Though there are bright spots, they are again just that: spots. Feather’s Touch is evidence that Yellow Paper Planes haven’t quite yet figured out which direction they want to fly.
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