[sic] Magazine

Aerial – Put it this way in headlines

Another loving re-issue from the Oscarson label that gave us KeplerAttic Salt last summer. I had to give a bonus score just for the packaging alone on Attic Salt. This release is equally gorgeous, if not more so as we will come on to later.

There are at least three Aerials that I’m aware of. Canadian and Scottish acts ply their trade under the same name. This is the Swedish incarnation. It’s interesting how they brand themselves as indie/post-rock even accentuating the post-rock side. Godspeed, and Mogwai references are to be found all over any literature pertaining to the band. Yet it isn’t my first thought. I’m inclined to go the indie route when describing Aerial to newcomers. There’s a lightness and emotive, almost fey, quality that brings to mind pillars such as Death Cab For Cutie and Yo La Tengo. Yet they manage to wrongfoot listeners with subtle tonal shifts and outright angular moves. Pavement are a clear, undenied influence (see ‘Malkmus In The Middle’) although we really don’t have to wait that long to hear the references.

As a piece of musical work, Put it this way in headlines is frontloaded with strong indie/emo material. ‘First Of All’ starts the record and begins a sequence of unabridged quality that is eventually punctuated by instrumental seventh track, ‘Canvas People’. Only now do the post-rock epithets seem validated. ‘Canvas People’ is neither a drop in quality nor filler, just a textural shift in mood, a moment of serenity which allows us to draw breath and take stock. I can see how the post-rock staples could have influenced Aerial, but the Swedes are closer to cult exponents such as Appleseed Cast or compatriots, Jeniferever (a massive compliment to my way of thinking) than to any of the ‘Mogspeed’ ilk.

‘Vacant Dreamers’ kills the mood. The dream state which preceded this song is kicked into touch by a noisy, brilliant lo-fi thrash. This is followed by the aforementioned Pavement tribute and then delightful, jaunty (surely a single?) ‘All Refrain’.

The people at Oscarson believe that the music of Aerial has flown under the radar for too long. I can’t disagree but a limited run of vinyl repressings is unlikely to alter that. Yet, quite simply, Put it this way in headlines is a brilliant album which deserves reappraisal. First released in 2009 and never originally on vinyl, it proved to be Aerial’s third and final long player before lead singer and guitarist, Sebastian Arnström, founded Simian Ghost. After that of course his career really took off. So let us all hope that Arnström can continue to thrill the masses with Simian Ghost. We’ll rejoice in this wonderful package and if new fans find their way to Aerial, let it be in time to track down one of these beauties.

Tech spec
• 2 times 12” vinyl
• Gatefold sleeve
• Original reproduction artwork
• Inlay photo and lyric cards.
• Oscarson postcards and fliers.
• Limited edition version available

Aerial at Oscarson

Kepler – Attic Salt, review.