Reviews/Press, mirrored here...
2nd Nov 2005 at Goonite Club, OppositionT
The BBC website for John Peel quotes the man at the masthead: "I just wanna hear something I've never heard before." Well, listen-up.
Only The Sailplanes make music like The Sailplanes. At the end of the 1970s, this was known as 'no-wave'. Two guitarists alternate on lyrics, but male voice predominates (in tonight's set anyway). A hysterical bark that is almost John Otway versus a latter-day 'Holly', the Red Dwarf's female on-board computer. To say the words are nihilistic is an understatement: 'I got no one, got no time', 'I never knew anyone', 'Feeling without meaning', 'You can have my life', and the uncharacteristically cheery 'I see the world in your eyes'.
There are only three Sailplanes, so the guitar duo creates twin strafing, wild and wide-ranging picking, string frillers and clangers, scratchy white noise. Strangely beautiful chords terminate a violin bow sawmill treatment. Drums race, a pattering hailstorm of beats, with an unusual wrist flicking action. A common structure is applied to most songs - strong rock 'n' roll intros that accelerate into violent strummery. But there are variations - one blistering instrumental that ends in an excerpt from Nick Cave's ' John Finn's Wife' and a strange episode of kneeling at the guitar pedals, wild fx, chirruping and motorbiking.
The Sailplanes are unique, but like Marmite, you either love 'em or hate 'em. I'm in the first camp. The promoter suggests they're like Sonic Youth. Possibly, in parts, but no sludge, no bubblegum, this is way more single minded. By the time they sang 'I see you walk' most of the audience had walked. To borrow from The Adverts 'We must be no-wave. They'll like us next year.'