Paper Aeroplanes, Telford's Warehouse, Chester

Wednesday 9 October 2013, 15:04

Adam Walton Adam Walton

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The comparison strikes me partway through their set. Paper Aeroplanes are Wales' Teenage Fanclub. Bittersweet, beautiful, melodic, unprepossessing songs that have none of the affectations of zeitgeist-jumping attention seekers. Songs so yearning and sunset-tinged that nightingales would gather round them, if they had enough money to pay the door tax.

Paper Aeroplanes are more than folded sheets of A4 paper but there is a disarming simplicity to the way they take flight. These songs would be fine songs even if sung by someone else but it's Sarah's voice that makes them incarnadine.

Paper Aeroplanes Paper Aeroplanes

It's not a crystalline thing, all perfect notes and blinding flashes. Her voice hits those notes with grace to spare, but there is also a crack there, a compelling human imperfection.

At times she sounds heartbroken, or angry, or nostalgic, or homesick, and although none of these are part of what's generally recognised as the positive spectrum of human emotions, the overall effect is a cathartic one. Their songs lessen the gravity in a heavy heart.

Little Letters, the title song from their most recent album, is magnificent. Go seek it out. If it were a painting, a piece of poetry, or a novel of Welsh origin it'd be feted, photographed, curriculum-ised to kingdom come.

As it is, it's a song on an album that hasn't garnered anywhere near the acclaim it deserves in its country of origin. If that's cause for any degree of disappointment in Sarah or Richard's hearts, at least that might be muse enough for another song to light us through the bleak nights ahead.

Paper Aeroplanes are perpetual musical motion. They tour incessantly; their albums come at a rate of knots suggesting that writing is as natural to them as breathing; they get better with every subsequent release.

We should cherish the fact that they do these things rather than bait their hooks with sounds designed to lure in the tastemakers, and then sit and wait for a bite.

I'm biting anyway. These are some of the best hooks being cast from this country. The heart-fishers of Milford Haven are doing more than good.

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