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Airport Cathedral: Soundtrack to Your Thrift-store Road Trip

Posted by January 12th, 2006 No Comments »

Airport Cathedral – Jetlag
Burning Building Records / Infiltrate Records
By Will Wagler

On their full-length debut, Jetlag, Seattle’s Airport Cathedral take a junk heap of elements and combine them into nine wonderful songs. The band’s simple, electrified guitars are strummed right out of the orange shag covered floors in your converted 70s garage. The beats arise out of what sounds like your older brother’s cruddy drum set. And the keyboards are tastefully sparse (you just know they got their synthesizer from some guy who’s dad had a crappy band back in his day). Imagine Jetlag as a disorganized thrift store full of buried treasures – old electronics with large dials, tight fitting brown clothes, and toys that bring back the nostalgia of your old best friend’s smoky basement.

Jetlag is also distinctive in that it serves as both an “album-album” and a collection of solid individual tracks. As a full album it shows a definite cohesiveness to the band’s sound and style, allowing one to pleasantly enjoy it from start to finish with little to no dips in quality. Taken individually, each song is unique and glorious in a subtle, low-fidelity kind of way. If you’re making a mixed tape, there’s a song on this album that would fit any mood you’re going for.

With tunes this stripped down, the end result can sometimes be a bit bland or, worse yet, boring. The Cathedral avoids this trap by putting their heart and soul into their music. While listening, you get the sensation that you’ve heard this all before but can’t necessarily place it, but you don’t care and love it regardless.

It’s a pleasure to float through the album’s fast and slow songs, experiencing along the way its sad and even humorous heights, evidenced with lyrics like, “What are you doing living in a house full of girls? You say they’re good ones and go to church,” from the track “Righteous.” On”Don’t Disappoint Me” front man Andy Fitts repeats the songs title over and over at half speed as the double time electronic drums race in the background. It’s a quietly devastating dirge that most everyone can relate to -you just know the song’s protagonist is going to wind up in a certain, major devastation hangover.

“The Tease” has the happiest musical interplay that I’ve heard in a long time. Maybe joyful is a better word, because it’s not corny. Another stand out track, “Daggers,” boasts an addicting drum beat with cool lyrics like “you have the power of attorney so over and out,” and “I only wanted to hear your voice,” echoing it’s urgency through out the song.

In college, my small tight-knit group came up with this idea that we never got around to doing. We were going to hit the highways for the great American road trip. There were only three rules: 1) we couldn’t bring any luggage with us, 2) we couldn’t buy anything new, and 3) someone besides yourself had to put together a bizarre outfit you had to wear. We’d live off of small town second hand stores. Jetlag would be the perfect soundtrack for such an adventure, as it evokes the grogginess you get when traveling. You’ve worn all your clothes for the third day in a row, and when you turn your head in a certain direction you can smell your own hair. You need sleep in a decent bed, a hot shower, and clean socks. You’re low, but somehow, you are also relaxed in your own messy self. So much so that you don’t want to get up to adjust anything. You’re content being how you are. Jetlag sounds kinda like that. – (8.5/10)

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