Aeroplane Pageant’s debut finds the musicians expanding upon the sound of their first EP (2005’s airy He Is Fire), stretching and folding dense layers of gleaming noise so that their cold shards of post-punk slivers are wrapped in the warm gauze of 4AD-style dream pop. Wave to the Moon showcases the band circling between these two extremes, surrounded by Shane Patrick Stoneback’s diaphanous production, which Nigel Godriches the disc into a spacey jazz hall of jittery blasts and whispered laments.
From opener “All the Days,” which features lead singer Brian Kelley’s agreeable lounge croon sliding over cooed background melodies and a trickling, Paisely Underground guitar groove, to the gently acoustic late-period Talking Heads romp of “New Parade,” the members of Aeroplane Pageant definitely reveal their influences. And yet they never sound imitative. Rather, it’s in their pastiche of earlier sounds that they strike upon their own — dreamy, indie-pop songs guarded by the caffeinated fence of post-punk revivalism and resting beneath bittersweet clouds of early shoegazer rock.
Take the sleep-drunk surrealistic epic “Ghost and the Ballerina,” with its swelling choruses blooming out of the pastoral, silver-lined mist of slow verses, and especially “Hunting,” whose bizarre carnivalesque intro gives way to a lovely fracture of acoustic pop and jagged electric guitar noise, creating a song that, had it been released in 1985, would be the gemstone closer to any number of Rhino-released retrospectives of left-of-the-dial classics. Those songs reach toward and firmly grasp a level of high-altitude spaciousness and artistry previously made by Aeroplane Pageant’s dream-pop/post-punk sonic lineage. A few more albums like Wave to the Moon and the band can count on adding its own branch of noise to that prodigious family tree.