The Aeroplanes – Greatest Hits
The Aeroplanes were never going to set the world alight. Their style of music was not commercial enough. But hey, that’s usually the best kind of music. This is great Indie music from the ’80s. The tunes are understated and simplistic, the production is minimal, the singer is sometimes a little off-key, yet this collection of raw pop-rock tunes has an airiness about it and a seriousness about it to make you feel good and melancholic, happy and sad, politically aware and totally carefree. There is the serious, almost vitriolic “National Madness” which featured on the “Forces Favourites” End Conscription Campaign compilation and then the lighter, bittersweet “Hat Check Girl”. In amongst this is the Rawhide-esque “Cowboys Don’t Cry” which is a hilarious take on the macho deep-voiced country singers, exploiting every cowboy cliche, including the cry “beans and coffee made America great!”
Every song has a great tune. Simple yet effective (remember a lot of the Beatles material only used 3 chords), you will be singing along by the time the second chorus comes along despite never hearing the song before.
The political issues dealt with encompass the local apartheid problems but weaves in the global issue in the ’80s of the nuclear threat. This is dealt with in the song “Sally” which starts with the lyric “Sally, don’t worry, the bomb will never get to us here” and then goes on to talk about the dangers “creep a-creeping so near”.
“South African Male” despite being sung by a bit of a cats choir, encaptures so acutely all the lekker things of about being a South African male (“May the smell of boerewors always be with you”) as well as some the not so lekker things (“South African Male you’ve got a uniform”). This is followed by “Hey Where’s The Jol?” (another lekker thing) to a funky, semi hip hop tune (but listen carefully to the lyrics, it’s not as lighthearted as the title suggests).
Raw, simplistic, funny, serious, tuneful, biting, bittersweet are a few adjectives one can use to describe this but be warned, some of the politically charged lyrics are not for the fainthearted.
(John Samson – SA Rock Digest #88 December 2000)
Courtesy of John Samson, April 2002.
The CD is in Mint condition.
Tracklisting: 1. Living in Yeoville2:302. Hat Check Girl2:463. National Madness3:334. For God’s Sake Mandy2:255. Love Breaks a Heart3:206. I got style3:097. Sally3:228. Cowboys don’t cry4:159. Zurich by the goldmine2:3510. Acting so strange1:4711. Doesn’t matter2:2912. Black Samba3:2713. Baby doll with a gun3:2414. The trouble with you James2:1015. Falling indifferent3:2816. South African Male2:3417. Hey where’s the jol5:29
Michael Rudolph: Vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar
Carl Becker: Vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar
Robert Muirhead: Keyboards, Guitar, Saxophone
Gary Rathbone: Drums, Guitar
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