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Copper and Stars

February 12, 2014 - Nicholas Terry
Anyone that has been in the vicinity of Western New York knows the painful cold we've been experiencing lately. Polar Vortex sounds like some Sci-Fi movie, but nevertheless, this snow and cold is exhausting. It is every year, so you'd think we'd be used to it. The tense feeling of walking to your car and/or job in single to negative digits is something tough to put into words, but Planes Mistaken For Stars first self-titled album gives me that feeling.

Planes Mistaken For Stars were a post-hardcore band from Illinois that had a good little run in the early 00's. Taking equal parts hardcore, rock, metal, and melody they created a unique sound that has kept their legacy intact largely by word of mouth of their fans. They developed their sound over time to a powerhouse of sound, but on their first album they were clearly still searching for their sound. This is not a deterrent as the chaotic mash of sounds is part of what has made the album stay with me over the years.

"Copper and Stars" is one of my favorite songs anyone from my generation has written. So with that out of the way, the album with this song the listener is treated with a one minute jam session before the band kicks into full gear and guitarist/singer Gared O'Donnell takes over. His gravely, raspy voice repeats the opening lines, "And I don't want to say that I wasted my days chasing instead of catching keeping. Wasting wishes on copper and stars". It takes some time to get used to his voice, but it is as vital an instrument as the guitar. The song builds up before slowing to a halt at the end, only to allow "Division" to pick up where "Copper and Stars" left off. It's intense, chaotic, and rhythmically all over the place for just under two minutes before abruptly stopping and spilling over a quiet minute long ballad.

The band perfects the push and pull technique. Never quite letting the listener get comfortable. The band is a locomotive going down the tracks pulling you along. You know the scenery is lovely because they slow down to let you see once and awhile, but they also let you know they are the captain of the train and you are just the passenger.

"The Past Two" ends with the the lines, "Cuz I'm afraid when the snow clears there won't be much left of me. December killed the best of me", effectively summing up the winters in Western New York. Any fan of rock or heavy music in general can find something to love about this band. If anything it's something different to listen to while your car defrosts tomorrow.


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