Release Date: June 6th, 2006
Do you miss the guitar rock of the mid to late nineties? Inclusive, varied and pleasantly playful, Middle Distance Runner’s Plane In Flames dabbles in many sounds, from the Radiohead-like dirge The Madness to the fuzzy garage rock of Man Of The People. Though nothing on the album particularly stands out, the band presents a little something for everyone.
Plane In Flames is a pleasant album, hooky in places, brooding in others, and a spotlight for a band with a lot of potential. The record opens brilliantly with Naturally, a sly, sinister song ironically filled with jaunty hand-claps. Switch It Up continues the playfully sinister tone, with lyrics about a girl intent on finding ways to “dig her nails” into the song’s narrator. Both Top Of The Stairs and Up In A Tree are prime examples of the catchy guitar rock the band does very well, while Hooks begins as a atmospheric Death Cab For Cutie sound-alike and soon morphs into an avalanche of epic guitars and vocals. While this kind of thing has been heard countless times before, the band succeeds at taking the best from their influences and crafting a record that shines in its diversity.
Middle Distance Runner is clearly a band with some ambition, and listening to Plane In Flames, it’s clear that they are not stuck in one particular sound. The trick, of course, will be to transcend their influences and find a sound that can instantly be identified as their own. Until then, Plane In Flames is a fitting primer, and an album in which every music fan should find something to latch on to. B-
Key Tracks: Naturally, Top Of The Stairs, The Madness