Release Date: Jun 7, 2011
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
On their fifth album, the duo of Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp find a kind of balance between sonic texture and thoughtful contemplation that makes for a rare achievement, especially given the unavoidable context of their broken marriage before its recording. The swathes of reverb throughout, not to mention the gently glazed keyboards and soft blends of harmony singing and individual crooning, is something that seems both backward-glancing and of its intentionally imperfect time. But Loud Planes Fly Low captures fragmented moments instead of formless dreams and random wishes: the melancholia that lingers throughout feels like one of experience rather than self-conscious ennui.
It was easy to fall in love with the Rosebuds. Their 2003 debut, The Rosebuds Make Out, radiated youthful charm with its unabashedly heart-on-sleeve tunes and its glorious mess of guitars and drums. And there was, of course, the band’s history. The duo of singer-guitarist Ivan Howard and keyboardist Kelly Crisp met in college in North Carolina and started making music together.
The Rosebuds’ Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard dissolved their marriage shortly before the recording of their forlorn and beatific fifth album, Loud Planes Fly Low. Despite their struggles, the indie-pop duo has soldiered on as a recording pair, and crystallized a recording unit of old pals. They create some of the most heart-swelling tableaus centering on relational fissures.
Loud Planes Fly Low isn't a break-up album. It may be the Rosebuds' first release since the divorce of founding members Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard, but it's not your typical aggregation of romantic grievances set to minor keys. In fact, they avoid blame and accusation altogether in favor of a more generous and balanced accounting of loss and renewal.
The chronicle of a relationship and (unsuccessful) marriage, The Rosebuds’s catalogue thus far has dabbled in the ecstatic wonders of a new love and explored the dark depths of when the shit hit the fan. Their 2008 album Life Like was unusually upbeat and poppy for the last album to be recorded during their marriage – perhaps this was their swansong? Regardless, The Rosebuds have settled into a sobering melancholy after leading duo Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp’s divorce. Enter Loud Planes Fly Low, an album that focuses on stripping away the superfluous clichés of such emotional separation (though not many clichés exist for a couple that still make albums in their post-divorce career) and digging at the raw nerve of marital failure.
Break-up albums are tough enough when one person leaves, but when the band members stick around, things can get awfully interesting (for the listener) and pretty tricky (for the players). This was the climate that Rumours came out of -- if you like that sort of thing -- but it's a risky move. Still, Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard of the Rosebuds ended their marriage and wanted to keep the Rosebuds going.
This has got to be the worst album title so far this year. The German duo changed it from the mooted [b]‘Tourism’[/b] to give more of an impression of the euphoric, pilled-up vibe. Yet cringingly vibed-up first words aside – where we’re also leaving the Eurovision cheese of [b]‘2 Hearts’[/b] – the follow-up to 2007’s debut, [b]‘Idealism’[/b], is not all bad.[b]‘Forrest Gump’[/b] – co-written by Julian Casablancas via email – is indie electronica with legs that could creep up on the outside as a sleeper summer hit; [b]‘Reeperbahn’[/b] comes on like The Prodigy ripping up a zombie apocalypse, and [b]‘Just Gazin’’[/b] is saucer-eyed stupefaction.
Being the child of two divorces, I understand what it’s like when a marriage crumbles around you. So, of course, I’d be more than intrigued when The Rosebuds announced that, despite the divorce of Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard, the indie folk rockers would strive on as a musical unit with their fifth LP, Loud Planes Fly Low. However, even with the rich and emotionally impactful source material the two had to cull from, the entire effort feels muted.
The marital fiascos and domestic entanglements of our society’s celebrities have always made ideal fodder for primetime news programs and weekly periodicals; in the well lit studios of 20/20 and on the glossy pages of People magazine, romantic failures tend to take on a surreal aura, where camp and melodrama keep us endlessly entertained but mask the pernicious nature of the situation. In the past five years, social networking and blogging have only served to elevate the talebearing nature of the breakups of the rich and famous, feeding our voyeuristic desires with everything from candid tweets and ill-advised Facebook posts to questionable Youtube videos and sordid sexting exchanges. With all of the hullabaloo that’s typically generated when two stars decide to split up, it can be difficult to remember that, beneath all of the histrionics and spectacle, there are two deeply wounded people struggling to plot their next move.