Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Airport Cathedral-Jetlag

May 1, 2006

airportcathedralBand Name: Airport Cathedral

Album Name: Jetlag
Best Element: Singular songwriting vision
Genre: Melancholy Indie-rock
Website: www.airportcathedral.com
Label Name: Burning Building Records

Band E-mail: andy@airportcathedral.com

Some CDs are perfectly named. Albums like Ben Folds’ Rockin’ the Suburbs, Five Iron Frenzy’s Live: Proof that the Youth are Revolting, and Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane over the Sea have titles that perfectly relate what you can expect to find within the confines of the compact disc you’re about to listen to. Airport Cathedral’s Jetlag joins the ranks of perfectly named albums because this album sounds like jetlag. It really, truly does.

And even though jetlag sucks when you have it, this CD does not suck in any way, shape or form- no, sir. Airport Cathedral has crafted an entrancing 9-song travelogue that perfectly documents the feel of being hours behind and unable to sleep.

From the very get-go with “Cure-Alls”, Airport Cathedral lays out on the table certain artistic ideas that will be themes throughout the album- thick, layered instrumentation, slightly fuzzy vocals that act more as an extra instrument than the central focus of the sound, and an overcast disposition. “Daggers” introduces three more essential elements of the Airport Cathedral sound- electronic augmentation, repetition, and epic build-ups. The electronics come in the form of a synthetic drum track that lends a separated, cold feel to the sound, and the repetition comes from a single clanging guitar that extends chords out to their greatest length. The epic build-up climaxes at around 2:40, when the gloomy vocals cry out “I only wanted to hear your voice!” over a sea of ringing guitars, reverbed drums, and pulsing bass. It’s one of those moments that must be simply rapturous when heard live.

The album as a whole is a grand experiment in tension- each of these songs grows and falls, complicating and simplifying, bringing the listener into a trance-like state. Although the songs have a familiar tone about them, none of them sound too much alike that you start to get bored- and that’s hard to do in a genre of this type.

This is an extremely cohesive album that will grow on you immensely. It may take you a while to fully get into the dour musings of Airport Cathedral, but once you are entwined in their web, it is hard to escape it, as their mood permeates your own. From songwriting to vocal performance to mood to artwork, this CD succeeds on all cylinders. Indie-rock could learn a lot by observing the emotional honesty, songwriting clarity, and personal sound that Airport Cathedral has a firm grip on. This is a stellar release for anyone who likes deep, mellow, melodic music like Neutral Milk Hotel, Damien Jurado, Pedro the Lion, and any bands who have copied the aforementioned trendsetters.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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