We Can't Fly
Belgian outfit Aeroplane is now on a solo flight after a mysterious split a couple of months ago. The classically trained Vito De luca is now the captain, and he has to prove the hype created by the DJ/remixers who made their name on a stunning remix of Friendly Fires’ “Paris”. We Can’t Fly is one of the most anticipated albums of 2010. It was recorded all over of the world; from Toulouse, Paris and London to Los Angeles, and it was co-produced by French back-to-the-future producer Bertrand Burgalat. It’s a multi influenced record that stretches from stadium pop/rock, Euro disco and film soundtracks to prog, new wave and italio. This psychedelic melting pot is a De Luca brand of Nu-Balearic.
It opens with “Mountains of Moscow”, A late 70’s, Pink Floyd-ish, part Genesis take on prog with big guitar solos, Richard Clayderman piano chords, astral keyboard and horror synths. The title-track follows with bleeps, gospel choir and children voices, before dropping in a slow, heavy and shiny 4/4 disco reggae beat. This was one of the best songs of the summer and it’s in a league of its own on the album. “Superstar” starts with piano rock ala Elton John or Billy Joel, and then goes over in post-French-house of the late 90’s, featuring vocoder vocals from Vito himself. “London Bridge” is another bla bla bla Moroder moment, before a very convincing Merry Clayton rocks out on ”I Don’t Feel”. She’s the backing diva from The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”, and here she sounds like Tina turner fronting Huey Lewis and The News, and it surprisingly works. “Without Lies” sounds like a little German pop gem; a melancholic version of Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” featuring myspace star Sky Ferreira. “Good Riddance” is a gruesome disco country tune, where Jonathan Jeremiah channels a silly Nick Cave. “Caramellas,” Aeroplane’s first single, is re-recorded here with added instrumentation and a roomier but less dance floor friendly feel. It’s beautiful cosmic disco; funky piano driven with a sunny Balearic feel. “Fish In The Sky” follows; a bizarre new wave track sounding like Human League is being backed by Europe. Closing track “We Fall Over” opens like Rick Wakeman behind the keys, then hazy pop vocals from Au Revoir Simone and some plinky-plonky sounds gets your attention before before a Mark Knopfler riff further builds up this beautiful and weird finale to a highly ambiguous album.
We Can’t Fly is over the top, trying to embrace everything Vito De luca ever loved about radio, or all the music he ever loved, period. It’s a cosmic mess of styles and guests. People who are fans of his DJ sets will not feel at home in this setting, with no crowd pleasers except for the title track. The record shop owner has made a tribute to his own collection and fascination of late 70’s prog and disco, and 80’s pop. This record might make you both confused and insulted. I’ve never heard so many musical references on one album; he’s overachieving, and it’s frustrating. He either a raving lunatic or a genius ahead of his time, maybe even both. But I’d rather go with Lindstrom or Prins Thomas for my post-Balearic-cosmic-prog fix.