Pa­per Plane Pa­per Plane In­de­pen­dent ★★★ ✩

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews -

THE de­but al­bum from this Melbourne quar­tet fea­tures three grad­u­ates from the El­der Con­ser­va­to­rium in Ade­laide: gui­tarist Hugh Stuckey, bassist Sam Zerna and drum­mer Hugh Harvey, plus Melbourne sax­o­phon­ist Kieran Hensey. Their mu­sic is a unique kind of cere­bral cool, of­ten rhyth­mic but not hard-driv­ing, with drums con­tribut­ing ad­di­tional melodic in­put rather than a heavy beat. The opener, Be Brave, be­gins with soft gui­tar chords, joined by tenor sax in the theme’s tonal step­ping-down be­fore an in­tro­spec­tive gui­tar solo then an ag­ile tenor as the drums em­pha­sise and punc­tu­ate. There is a dreamy, float­ing qual­ity to the col­lec­tion, ex­em­pli­fied by the tenor’s long-held notes in Rem­nant and the gui­tar and tenor unison work in

Line of Thought and later the gui­tar’s em­broi­dered in­ter­ac­tion as the tenor glides un­ob­tru­sively. Quiet re­straint is the key­note in Spin­ning Gears as bowed bass un­der­pins ethe­real gui­tar and tenor while busily in­ven­tive drum ac­tion be­comes the fore­ground. Slower tem­pos are a char­ac­ter­is­tic through­out the al­bum and Frog’s Re­morse fol­lows that pat­tern as the tenor de­liv­ers an aching solo, then flow­ing gui­tar lifts the mood. The only nono­rig­i­nal of nine tracks, Duke Elling­ton’s bluesy

Jump for Joy, is taken at a slower pace than that usu­ally heard on this stan­dard; more a smooth slide than a jump but it’s none the worse for that. It’s the most rhyth­mic in the col­lec­tion, with Harvey’s skil­ful brushes at first, then sticks, and both gui­tar and tenor in­ject a deep Delta feel into their so­los. This al­bum by tal­ented play­ers is re­ward­ing for its un­usu­ally con­tem­pla­tive ap­proach.

John McBeath

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