REVIEW: The Cinema – My Blood Is Full Of Airplanes

Artist: The Cinema
Album: My Blood Is Full Of Airplanes
Genre: Pop
Label: Independent

Being a critic, especially a critic of any art form, is a very difficult job. If I were an automotive journalist, my life would be exceptionally easy, it’s very easy to note whether or not a car understeers too much on turn in, or if the interior materials are good quality parts or not. All that can be quantified and labeled objectively, but the same cant be said of any kind of art. Music especially, it’s just such a common entity, everyone listens to music, even someone that isn’t as devoted to it as are most of the people reading this website, they still listen to some music, no one outright hates it. The possible musical tastes vary to such extremes, and everything is extremely debatable between two people, with two different tastes. Which is why it’s so easy to be a bad music critic. To be an affective critic, there are a few qualifications one must have to be able to render a valid opinion, musical experience is one of those things that definitely helps. This allows me to actually pick out the objective bits; are the songs well written, are they well recorded, is the band any good musically, and so on. All these things are the quantifiable bits, most of the rest of it just comes down to personal taste. But I have to do my best to ignore all that. And I have to admit, I’m still working on this technique, when I come across bands like The Cinema, and am put in charge of reviewing their new album, My Blood Is Full Of Airplanes, I frequently find myself backtracking to delete some of comments, while I gush on about how Leighton Antelman, of The Cinema, formerly of Lydia, was a part of an absolutely flawless album – Lydia’s Illuminate, and therefore, can do no wrong. I’ll try my best.

Naturally, it goes without saying, that I’m a big Lydia fan, I recognize the fact that The Cinema is a whole different monster, at times verging on an – and I shudder to say this – Owl City-ish brand of Garageband produced pop that is sweet enough to cause cavities. I suppose this is where I mention that this is definitely not a continuation of Lydia, it is definitely a brand new project, and should be treated as such. The first song, “Satellites”, just reeked of self-produced pop, which typically isn’t a good thing, but it couldn’t help but feel that there was something there, something more substantial, with more nutritional value than cheap bubblegum pop. I confirmed my suspicions as the album progressed, I was sold by “Kill It”, a beautifully simplistic song, comprised of real instruments, all of which were perfectly concise and to the point, but not in the “this is all I’m capable of” sort of way; it was a perfect example of restrained talent, not just a product of insomnia and a Macbook.

Although I was trying my best not to, I was certainly ready to fully fanboy out on this album, and go on and on about how amazingly well done it was, I will admit that I wasn’t sold on it from the start. It was undeniably well done, but at first it came off as way too poppy, and when the album began with an obviously sampled drum track, I feared the worst. From an objective point, the musicianship is well done, but it’s hard to advocate most Garageband production tactics. And yet, somehow it works on My Blood Is Full Of Airplanes, in the way it worked for The Postal Service, which isn’t a compliment I’ll give out easily, it doesn’t come off as cheap and half-hearted, as it so often does. This isn’t a tangent due to my undying devotion to Lydia; this has nothing to do with Lydia, The Cinema is a brand new band, and they have proven themselves completely independently of any prior work the members may have done in the past. From a semi-unrelated perspective, it’s no Illuminate, and from a direct-comparison perspective, it’s no Give Up by The Postal Service, but it can’t be expected to be either of those albums, they have reached legendary status long ago. From an independent perspective though; it’s fantastic, dare I say one of the most notable releases of the past year.

Reviewed by: Mike Hogan

James Shotwell
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