Navid and Jen are their names. Their voices are perfect together, like a hand in a glove. They are smooth and wonderful. It’s not every day that we cover a three-song EP around here, but this one is worth the time. These two, going by the name Planes on Paper, are exceptionally talented musicians with a sound that is comfortable and beautiful.
The opener to Ruins is a track called “Monolithia.” With tones of light country music and folk, it’s an acoustic guitar and vocally driven tracks. As with the rest of the album vocal blending makes the track. Navid’s lead is highlighted brilliantly by Jen’s subtle undertones. If I can use a visual art illustration to make an audio point, Jen’s sounds are the little touches of brighter colors that make the darker hues shine more brightly. Anyways, the layers go together perfectly.
Where “Monolithia” excelled as a “country” flavored song, the second track “Iron Boat” is predominantly composed of minor notes and developments. The “dark” feeling of it is exquisite. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard all year and captures an emotion that is nearly indescribable. “I got stranded to the branches and the thorns that grew away from you and the air up here is thin… and it’s the same old view – rising seas and iron boats.” Now, I don’t purport to know exactly what that means, but it’s about isolation and distance in the midst of a difficult time in a relationship. It’s also phenomenally rich music. This, friends, is high art.
The title track “The Ruins” starts off with a happily-plodding acoustic guitar part that puts listeners in the mind of something quaint and wonderful – maybe a Roger Miller vinyl – and the voices join in to generate a comfortable feeling. There’s an ease of emotion present throughout the track that makes you think that Navid and Jen not only have sung together a lot but they’ve lived some life, too. “Here’s the view of the ruins, prove to you we didn’t know what we were doing in a city raised around temples burned to the ground…” How’s that for a rich and inviting image? Beautifully dark, reminiscent of broken relationships, broken homes, and real life.
This is an EP you really need to get. It will be officially releasing very soon. In the meantime follow the band on social media. If you’re up in the great northwest, keep an eye out for them in your area. There aren’t very many artists that I find in a year that get me so excited to hear them live, but Planes on Paper definitely qualify. Both “Iron Boats” and “The Ruins” have a serious chance at making it onto my top songs of the year list – sliding in just in the nick of time. This is exceptional songwriting that evokes emotion and moves the listener to think, feel, and engage.