It’s Karma It’s Cool: Hipsters And Aeroplanes

“Hipsters and Aeroplanes” is available for purchase from Kool Kat Musik.

The songwriting team of James Styring and Mickey Barraclough have whipped up a special form of magic on the new It’s Karma It’s Cool mini-lp, “Hipsters And Aeroplanes.” The band is:

James Styring – Vocals (formally of UK power poppers, The Popdogs, and pop punksters, B-Leaguers)
Mikey Barraclough – Guitars, Bass Guitar (formally of B-Leaguers)
Martyn Bewick – Guitars, Additional Instrumentation
Danny Krash – Drums, Percussion, Additional Instrumentation

Visit their Kool Kat Musik to learn more.

The band’s sound can best be described as melodic power pop with strong overtones of R.E.M., Rod Stewart & Faces, and a dash of U2 for good measure. Styring (the lyricist for all songs) has a vocal style reminiscent of Al “Year Of The Cat” Stewart, and it’s perfectly suited to the material.

A common thread that runs through each of the six songs is wonderfully balanced instrumentation (acoustic and solo electric guitars, weaving in and out of full band interplay), lush and airy harmony vocals, and lyrics that depend on metaphors as much as literal meaning. It’s a multi-dimensional retro sonic feast. The songs:

“Hipsters And Aeroplanes” opens with a nice, dirty solo electric guitar, before the rhythm section kicks in around the 30 second mark. Breathy, “aaaaaah” background vocals sweeten the sound at 1:00, and it becomes a melodic, hard-charging pop powerhouse from there on out. “Don’t waste all your time, on hipsters and planes…” A perfect example of a tight song where a literal interpretation of the lyrics isn’t a prerequisite for enjoyment…just roll with it.

“Raised By Engineers”“Raised by engineers, forged by pioneers, some are volunteers tonight.” More expertly constructed power pop with a melodic and flowing guitar solo. A staccato rhythm with overlapping vocals follows, then it stops on a dime. Good stuff.

“Daydream Days”…60s hippie psychedelic folksy backdrop with nicely strummed and ringing guitars and wonderfully harmonic background vocals. The guitar solo is reminiscent of the Byrds and R.E.M., climbing and dissolving back into the song. This is definitely a band that knows how to drop an appropriate solo into the proceedings.

“United States Of No Regret”…It’s apparent by now that the band’s gift for clever, wistful wordplay is central to its overall vibe. More R.E.M. twang / chiming guitar overtones grace the song. “What a time to be alive…seven days and seven nights to be with you, to be with you…” It’s classic folk / psychedelic skygazing, with two tight, fuzzy guitar solos and more “aaaaaaah” background vocals.

“Summer Make Away”…Adding a touch of falsetto to the vocals on this one really makes it ring and amplify the overall tone of the album. Light as air…“Candles on a birthday cake, lines on your pretty face…”

“Shannon’s Waltz”…It starts off with acoustic guitar before the full band kicks in, and has a touch of U2 urgency in the delivery. A perfect song to close this mini-album. Sweeping majesty in the instrumental midsection gives way to a repeated refrain and a full-throttle gallop to the finish line. As it fades, there’s a valedictory feel a la the classic Faces tracks from Stewart, Wood and Lane (Think of the “Maggie, I wish I’d never seen your face” fade on “Maggie May”).

Ir’s a superb mini-LP that will leave you hungry for more.