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We Didn't Know Anything Was Wrong...

Technical Difficulties

Twisted Hero (EP)

Love your Driveway (EP)


SEAPLANE – We Didn’t Know Anything Was Wrong… PDF Print E-mail
Rave Magazine Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Image(Roadside Furniture)

Brisindie noisemakers go for the gut on new vinyl release

Brisbane’s Seaplane have been largely known for a freeform brand of indie rock, with a heavy emphasis on guitar textures and experimentation. Although they haven’t lost their twitchy edge in any of the songs on new vinyl mini-album We Didn’t Know Anything Was Wrong, there’s an evolving cohesiveness to their twin-guitar-fuelled material, while new drummer Scott Brique provides a pounding, visceral backbone that is aimed squarely at the heart and gut as opposed to the head. Scream-along gem The Soiree has definite ‘live favourite’ potential, while The Switch makes a similarly powerful impact via a slower tempo and gradually building intensity. Feather is perhaps the most ‘conventional’ song on offer, retaining the soaring guitar interplay, but grounded by an indie-pop verse-chorus structure. Plastic Jesus partially resembles a more densely produced Guided By Voices, thickened sonically by the duelling six-strings of Dale Peachey and Stirling Bartram. Even Seaplane’s love for sludgy jams finds the group sounding more focused more than ever, such as the album’s opener, a Morricone-meets-Slint concoction entitled The Man With No Name and the chiming majesty of The Underture. All in all, a truly superb local release.


Before Hollywood

Monday, 15 June 2009

Review: Seaplane - We Didn't Know Anything Was Wrong


Over the years Seaplane have been a fairly constant figure on the Brisbane indie scene. At least that was the the case up to the last year or so, when the band seemingly disappeared entirely. In recent months they've returned with a new drummer (Scott Brique, otherwise known as the singer from Nova Scotia) and this, a new 12" record titled We Didn't Know Anything Was Wrong.

WDKAWW opens with a similar one-two punch as Seaplane's previous record, Technical Difficulties, with a fairly epic instrumental number followed by a shorter 'pop' song. In this instance the opener is 'The Man With No Name', a song built around some vaguely middle eastern noodling and big, crunchy guitar chords (the guitars in the big 'choruses' are also backed by some wordless vocals that continue the song's exotic theme). 'The Man With No Name' is kind of reminiscent of GY!BE's 'Albanian', but packed into a lean two-and-half minutes instead of sixteen. Coming straight on the heels of the opener is lead single 'The Soiree', a sub two minute rock song built around a four-chord progression, a Regurgitator-esque 'ooo-ee-ooo-ee-ooo' hook and a screamed chorus courtesy of Dale Peachey. From there the record heads into the Stirling Bartlam sung 'The Switch' (sounding like something from Big Heavy Stuff's early records), before slowing down with Peachey's more reflective (but still awesomely epic) 'Feather'. It's a great end to the first side of the EP, and probably my favourite track.

Side Two begins with the tense 'Plastic Jesus', which probably doesn't quite earn its 4:24 running time seeing as it's essentially just two chords repeated for the entire length of the song; that said, the combination of length and repitition does seem to reinforce the claustrophic feeling of the song. Similarly relentless is 'Rinse It', which treads a similar path to the previous track, but that throws away the tense restraint in favour of continual build towards a noisy climax (although the lyrics provide something of a humourous juxtaposition, consisting of various instructions being directed at former drummer Conwae Burrell - who mans the drums throughout this record as his final act in the band - to wake up, clean his house, etc). Penultimate track 'The Underture' is a lofi instrumental racket whose brevity increases its potency, taking us to We Didn't Know Anything Was Wrong's closer in the form of 'Shotgun', another slower and more reflective song. Even at their most mellow, as they are on this track, Seaplane still cram in more guitar chaos than most other acts doing the rounds at the moment.

We Didn't Know Anything Was Wrong pretty much offers up what you'd expect from a Seaplane record: scratchy guitars noodling around relatively simple song structures, insistent drums, and reedy vocals. That may be a fairly big reduction of their sound, perhaps unfairly so, so I'll add this: I would say that this is their best release - it's more consistent, cohesive and better engineered than anything else they've put out (and their prior output is not weak). The guitars are the real focal point of the band, on here they're more restless than ever - they might only be based around a handful of chords on any one song, but the way they dance around those simple building blocks is the band's strength, rarely playing a given section the same way more than once or twice. The end result is somewhere in between Nova Scotia's slacker pop and the more chaotic sounds of Turnpike, and pretty much equal to those bands' output.


The Troubadour: 29.05.09
When it rains, Brisbane seems shocked into a state of numbness. People forget how to drive and public transport timetables lose all relevance.  Tonight’s weather seems the only plausible explanation for the vast tracks of open space that greets each band.

Nova Scotia have copped a bit of flack since they started playing for somehow digging up Pavement’s corpse, dusting it off and trying it on. It is time to do away with this lazy reference point. Though the threads are there – and why shouldn’t they take influence from someone? – the young Brisbane band ignore the slacker style and focus on simple pop songs full of guitar scuzz and high, intertwining triple-guitar melodies. ‘Around The Twist’ – featuring late, as a few more people start to traipse and push forward, intrigued – is quality, effortless indie-pop that sticks in the brain for days later. It’s a tough opening slot, and Nova Scotia deserve a better turnout. 

The comforting thing about Seaplane is that this sort of turnout will never faze them; they have been doing this for too long. The faithful push to the front, and that is all the band need. It seems to be the simplicity of their music – and Dale Peachey’s uncanny ability to knock out pop hooks, year on year, seemingly without end – that has always made them criminally underrated. Know Anything Was Wrong – is further proof of the class behind their noisy, dual-guitar pop. Brisbane seems so used to Seaplane that they tend to languish undetected under our noses. Tonight’s set – including ‘I’m Awake’ and ‘Plastic Jesus’, from the new LP  We Didn’t Know Anything Was Wrong – is further proof of the class behind their noisy, dual-guitar pop.

The four musicians of Adelaide’s No Through Road look rather forlorn and disinterested as they kick into the choppy, 70s punk riff of ‘Berlin Wall’, and it’s not until buzzed front man Matt Banham shakes out from behind his band mates – swatting his palms together, stomping about with the quirky sex appeal of a less-chiselled Iggy Pop – that we start to see a performance. Banham is the ultimate bandleader, but unfortunately his enthusiasm is not reflected amongst the small crowd. There is a metre’s space between crowd and stage – left probably from fear of getting a mic a swung into the face – and Banham spends his time traipsing about in it, trying his best to blur the line between audience and performer. Regardless of the spectator hesitation, the performance is thoroughly enjoyable. ‘Explosions’, from Winner. is epic but still brittle – Banham’s voice cracked and off-tune at the right places – as is ‘Steph’s Song’. ‘Die For Something’, ‘Party To Survive’ and ‘Sucked In Matt’ end a set of clever pop delivered with flamboyance and high-energy.



Single of the Week


Local noisy indie three piece Seaplane are one of those rare Brisbane bands who have managed to stay together for longer than ten minutes, humbly plugging away in the background while ‘next big things’ come and go. You’ll regularly see them as the opening act for bands who are often more popular but a lot less interesting, and like that other veritable institution of Brisbane indie Turnpike, seem to get better every year without anyone really paying any more attention. It’s been a few years since their last record Technical Difficulties and the emergence of this new promotional single ‘The Soiree’ indicates that more new material is just around the corner. And it’s a great track, bristling with energy – jangly distorted guitars that take their cues from The Pixies and Built To Spill and all that stuff. In true Seaplane style they manage to reference their own local rock scene in the lyrics; surely the Emerson that the vocalist says “has seen him do everything” is the legendary mixer/ engineer who has recorded most of the bands in town at some point? Backed with another great track ‘Dr Casino’, this is a pointer of more great music just around the corner from Seaplane, and just in time really.

Timeoff Magazine - 11 Feb 2009


SEAPLANE – The Soiree


(Roadside Furniture)
These are the facts as they stand. Seaplane are a wonderful guitar-loving band, soon to be releasing a 12-inch entitled We
Didn’t Know Anything Was Wrong… As a bonus, they’re from Brisbane so you might get to see them play live. They’ve given us a taste of that forthcoming record in the lessthan-two-minute mental jaunt The Soiree.  It’s really good. It’s fun, adrenaline-raising, lyrically-abstract-but-intriguing, and essentially a duet between the bouncy lead  guitar and deranged quirk-scream vocals. I like it a lot. Unfortunately I also like The Pixies’ Debaser a lot, and the similarities are quite striking. I can sing the first verse of Debaser to the fi rst verse of this song. The strange, stretched vocals sound not so much inspired by Frank Black as they do mimicked. Everyone has influences, and who better to give you ideas than The Pixies, but to these ears it’s too close to the original. The bonus song included, Dr Casino, shows the band doing their own thing more decisively, with a thrilling layering of guitars that should appeal to fans of Built To Spill, but far less derivative than the first track. From this taste, the rest of the 12-inch should be great fun, so long as it’s Seaplane we hear.

Rave Magazine 2/3/09


Rave Magazine April 21 09

SEAPLANE – Feather


A few weeks ago we reviewed The Soiree, the first track released from local guitar bluster band Seaplane’s upcoming vinyl album We Didn’t Know Anything Was Wrong. The verdict was that though it was an exciting, partially-deranged tune, it was a little too close to The Pixies’ Debaser for unconditional comfort and support. Sterling and the boys have responded by sending through another track for consideration, so in the interests of promoting a damn fine band, let’s listen. Feather starts with a barely audible loose drum and guitar combo that accelerates gradually into a quiet introduction. I’m no psychologist, but given the last comparison made maybe I’m subconsciously looking for more of the same, and it does instantly recall two classic American guitar tune introductions – the first, Where Is My Mind by The Pixies again, and secondly, the Pumpkins’ Today. However, lest my brush be covered in tar forever, these are simply models upon which Feather might be based. The further the song progresses, building and building to its tightly orchestrated rocking finish, the more it takes on its own life. Yes, the quiet-soft nuance is steeped firmly in ‘90s American alternative tradition, as is pretty much every layer of Seaplane, but they do it well, a step above Something For Kate at their early finest. The 12-inch is something to look forward to


This is what people have said about our earlier releases (good and bad).

SEAPLANE - Technical Difficulties (Roadside Furniture/Reverberation)

" Brilliant debut album from all-too intermittent local trio -
With almost casual ease, Brisbane three-piece Seaplane have, with this debut album, made good on the promise of their 2002 EP Twisted Hero. Their brand of gnarled indie-rock songs and expansive, emotive instrumentals have gained clarity and focus, thanks in part to a sparse but crunchy mix by producer Quentin Brown, but also to the band's innate sense of dynamics and instrumental interplay.

The fizzing, cross-cutting guitars of Stirling Bartlam and Dale Peachey are consistently inspired, as on the rampaging opening instrumental Cyclonic Conditions or the more reflective Sleeping Injury, while drummer Conwae Burrell brings a rock solid but laidback, almost Steve Shelley-like feel to the songs.

The vocal-driven tunes are marvellous too, Peachey sounding especially fraught on the nineminute, slow-building epic Red Bones, while Bartlam comes over all Underground Lovers on the tense Not About Dale.

In a nutshell, Technical Difficulties exudes quality and any self-respecting indie-rock fan needs to find a place for this disc in their collection."


Rave Magazine Jan 10th 06

 Planes & Cars
Brisbane indie-guitar lovers SEAPLANE are finally releasing their debut album Technical Difficulties - quite an apt title as it turns out. "The air conditioner in the studio broke down within half an hour of us turning up on the first day, the main computer hard-drive melted down halfway through the mixing process, and mastering was a costly disaster," guitarist/vocalist STIRLING BARTLAM ruefully informs BRETT COLLINGWOOD. "But is was most definitely all worthwhile."

It's been three years since Twisted Hero, the wonderful second EP from Brisbane indie-rock trio Seaplane. And that's about three years too long, in your humble
scribe's opinion - given that I originally reviewed Twisted Hero as being "undeniably fantastic" and "a semi-improvised maelstrom that lurches from crashing dissonance to sublime beauty in a heartbeat", you can probably gather that I've been rather keen to see what the band did next.

Happily, what Seaplane did next is finally in my hands - in the form of the band's debut album Technical Difficulties. Where Twisted Hero saw the trio's sound crystallising around a slashing, two guitar and drumkit interplay, replete with droning overtones and occasional panicked bouts of singing, Technical Difficulties takes that template and blows it up large. The band - and the album - benefit from having two vocalists - guitarist Stirling Bartlam's sweet but brooding tones the perfect counterpoint for fellow guitarist Dale Peachey's tougher delivery - but the album's instrumentals are equally as important, packing a considerable emotional punch on their own and showing off the solid musicianship of Peachey, Bartlam and drummer Conwae Burrell.

Technical Difficulties is an altogether more cohesive set of songs than Twisted Hero, a perception helped by the linking device of between-song car noises - doors slamming, engine starting then ticking hypnotically down the highway, other cars whistling past - that suggest the music is being played on a car stereo during a journey. "I wanted a theme to link the somewhat diverse nature of the album
together," says Bartlam. "It's pretty much a trip from an inner city underground carpark to the beach - you hop in and off you go. I think our music suits driving."

Interestingly, the band enlisted Quentin Brown, lately of synth-heavy bands Genshen and Loveless, to produce the album. "I have known Quentin for a long time," says Stirling, "and although Genshen and Loveless are electronic/keyboard influenced bands, I think I would be accurate in describing two of his favourite bands as being Gaslight Radio and My Bloody Valentine. He loves guitar
bands and has been a long-time supporter of Dollarbar (Peachey's now sadly defunct guitar-pop quartet), Seaplane and also Conwae's band Extra Foxx - he is completing some recordings for them at the moment. "Very generously, Quentin did the Technical Difficulties recording and mixing for us pretty much without any payment and with a very significant investment of his time and expertise. He is a bit of a perfectionist and prefers bands to know what they want - so Seaplane was a bit of a challenge for him in that you have to crack a whip over us to make us play a song the same way twice!"

Hopefully, the band will be able to at least roughly approximate the Technical Difficulties songs when they launch the album with a gig at The Troubadour on Thursday. It's an all-too rare chance for fans to experience a band that to date has been a sadly intermittent concern. Stirling, for his part, hopes that there'll be a more regular gigging and release schedule from now on. "I hope that we will be playing and recording lots next year," he says. "We are currently planning a tour to the southern states for February. We recently did some recording with some students at the Conservatorium of Music and have had an offer this week from a rural studio, kindly volunteering their services as a venue for our next recording. All things going well, we will be launching an EP by mid next year."

Rave Magazine Nov 15


· SINGLE OF THE WEEK - Twisted Hero (Roadside Furniture)

Sometimes you hear something so undeniably fantastic, it's almost worth having to wade through the usual manufactured corporate bullshit that tends to pass for music these days. Seaplane are so original, powerful and passionate it will leave you breathless. A two-guitar-and-drums line-up wring all manner of emotion from their instruments, resulting in a semi-improvised maelstrom that lurches from crashing dissonance to sublime beauty in a heartbeat. Opening track Rolling is indicative of their approach: interweaving, almost telepathic guitars combine in an unremitting wall of noise that rises and falls unpredictably, whilst the occasional vocal lines struggle to rise from the swirling din. Meanwhile, the hypnotic, ambient drone-fest Burnt Sprinkler show the group has more than one trick up its sleeve. I could go on for hours; suffice it to say that every track here is utterly superb. Hey people, these guys are from Brisbane! They deserve your undivided attention.

Rave Magazine

Twisted Hero

This band share a member with Dollar Bar (Dale Peachey), but their music comes from a different planet altogether - it's lo-fi indie rock, but with a different focus. Aside from the title track, they're restrained, slow and weighty affairs that unravel gradually, their gestation as compelling as their ultimate explosion. 'Twisted Hero' shows they can be just as controlled when they hit the accelerator.


Seaplane: Twisted Hero (Roadside Furniture)

Seaplane are a Brisbane angular-rock trio full of contradictions, with their sound ranging from chaotic noise to sublime pop beauty, and armed with an erratic yet fantastic live show. The band's second EP release, the delightfully titled 'Twisted Hero', provides for a fine introduction to Seaplane, with the group's trademark sprawling free-form being captured on tape in a reined-in yet still incredibly impressive and powerful display. The highlights of this five-track release include the title track (which in a departure from many EP's, is the closing track), the laidback distorted melodies of 'Nation Of Spies' and the ambient drone of 'Burnt Sprinkler'. Overall, Twisted Hero is a fine release, and a sign of great things to come from Seaplane.

The Laughing World

Smash Your Head on the Improv Rock (independent)

Smash Yr Head.. is a new promo CD by Brisbane's best post-rock/experimental/'whatever you want to label them as band Seaplane.
This promo consists of songs from the upcoming 'Twisted Hero' CD, as
well as the bands debut 'Love Your Driveway' EP. If 'Twisted Hero',
'Nation of Spies' and 'Rusty' are a general guide to the pending release,
we're all going to be in for a treat.

The Laughing World

Love Your Driveway

Seaplane's Debut EP, Love Your Driveway (the title says it all really),
is a resolutely homegrown affair, where the sound and aesthetics are torn
down, stripped back and built up from scratch. Actually they didn't even
go to that much trouble. Hell they didn't even have half the songs when
they started recording..... This spontaneity lies at the heart of Seaplane,
but while many bands use spontaneity as an excuse for no structure,
Seaplane songs are remarkably complex - deceptively so.

Rave Magazine