Single Review: Desert Planes – Wake in Fright

By on Monday, 13th June 2016 at 12:00 pm

Words by Adam McCourt

Singer Tom Farrer and drummer Ben Niblett were collaborators in their adolescent years, gigging in local pubs together. After a few years apart, working on separate projects and developing their musical prowess independently, they reunited to form Desert Planes. And the London duo have taken the UK indie rock scene by storm. Since their debut single ‘Wake In Fright’ was released on 3rd of May, they have garnered accolades from Radio X, Amazing Radio and Clash Music.

The track draws influence from various aspects of indie rock from the last decade. Farrer’s vocal style is similar to Tom Smith of Editors, smooth in tone and strong in character. The guitar riff is reminiscent of mid-Noughties Modest Mouse, but a little less disjointed and staccato-y. However, what differentiates this duo from the rest is Niblett’s drumming. It isn’t a case of showing off how good of a drummer he is. Instead, he sources the overall feel of the track and plays towards that. In this case, he creates a constant drive with very little variation in order to fit the dance-like nature of the song. Simple, yet effective, it acts as the glue that ties each section together.

Overall, it is very well-structured and extremely well-crafted. Each layer is in its place for a reason; nothing is over or underused. The main guitar riff is introduced within the first 10 seconds of the song, and doesn’t return for another minute and 10 seconds. It doesn’t seem like much, but in a song only lasting 3 minutes and 14 seconds, that’s a long time to hold off a melody so memorable. Between each guitar melody, however, Farrer fills the gap with his sensual voice, telling a story of heartache. With a hint of low-lying falsetto backing vocals, they help in expressing the message of love lost.

The pair do an excellent job in appealing to a pop music fan base with this song, but they still possess the cool factor of being an indie rock band. Incredible detail clearly went into constructing this song so that it would hold the attention of any average music lover. For example, holding off the chorus hook for as long as they possibly can and, going through a double intro, verse and a pre-chorus before unleashing the catchy chorus hook within the lyrics “you wanna help me well then tell me aw / aw baby keep it together.” And as it is so short the first time round, it leaves the listener wanting it again and again. Unfortunately in one listen we only receive it twice with a slight variation of the melody at the end. Luckily for Desert Planes it just means we have to go back and listen again. And again and again.


‘Wake in Fright’ is out now on Killing Moon Records.


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