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Mr Airplane Man | C'mon DJ (Sympathy For The Record Industry)
Something of an oddity this, the third release from Boston residents Tara McManus and Margaret Garrett, a.k.a. Mr Airplane Man. Why the moniker? I don't know. There are some really touching songs here, like Don't Know How To Love and How Long, which drip with emotions of love, yearning, and loss, yet there are also stomping hit-the-town anthems like Make You Mine. The two approaches sit uneasily with each other, and the purposely lo-fi production doesn't overly help matters. Occasionally reminiscent of harmonious Sixties girl groups, Mr Airplane Man will remind you of the simple pleasures to be derived from a well-written pop song, which is precisely what these are, but whether it'll stoke your coals for any substantial length of time with the wealth of options on offer in today's diverse musical environment is another matter. 'C'mon DJ' sounds like it's stuck in a time warp, and whilst everyone does 'The Time Warp' at some point in their lives, it's not something they'll confess to all their friends. A couple of covers flesh out the original material - a sexed-up version of The Wailers' Hang Up being a highlight - but overall it's hard to gauge this record's relevance in 2004.

Mike Diver
March-April 2004