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Stars Of Aviation - Marie Et L'accordeon

  by John Clarkson

published: 14 / 8 / 2006



Stars Of Aviation - Marie Et L'accordeon
Label: Select Label
Format: CDS

intro

Stunning first single in over three years from chamber pop act and recent Pennyblackmusic Band Night act, the Stars of Aviation


With their members until recently spread across Britain, chamber pop act Stars of Aviation’s recordings have always been few and far between. It has been three and a half years since their last record, the three song ‘Snow on Snow’, and there was another two year gap between that and their record prior to it, the four song ‘Greatest Disappointment EP’. With quality always, however, exceeding quantity, each new recording is always something of an event. Their latest recording, ‘Marie et L’ Accordeon’, which is being released with its B side ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ as a two song download, and also on Kitchenware Records on 7” vinyl, is no exception to that rule, instantly displaying itself as one of the small release highlights of the year. The Stars of Aviation’s line-up has, since the group formed in 1999, consolidated around Jonny Anstead (vocals/guitar) ; Nathan Oxley (keyboards/vocals) ; Andy Schofield (guitar) and Tim Jaggard (drums). In the time since they released ‘Snow on Snow’ it has, however, expanded to feature a fluctuating line-up of between seven and nine members, including a violinist, a trumpet player and most significantly on this new recording Anstead’s wife Louise on vocals and accordion. The title track is a dreamy 60’s style Bossa Nova folk number sung, perhaps not surprisingly given that the core of the group met as Cambridge University language students, in perfect French. Breezy guitars and keyboards and a warbling trumpet merge with Louise’s Gallic-sounding accordion and a lilting three vocal harmony from the Ansteads and Oxley to make ‘Marie et L’ Accordeon’ perfect, easy-on-the-ear listening. As fine as it is, ‘Marie et L’Accordeon’ proves to be simply a prelude, despite its B side status, to the main act of ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. When the Stars of Aviation played this at a Pennyblackmusic Bands Night in March, it instantly hushed an until-then talkative audience, and on record it is similarly spellbinding. In contrast to the lavish ‘Marie et L’ Accordeon’, its power this time comes in its simplicity. A poignant war time tale about two separated lovers, it opens with the resonating sound of Oxley gently strumming his acoustic guitar. Anstead plays the role of a weary, shellshocked soldier in the trenches (“All is quiet on the Western Front/All the guns are quiet tonight/And I’m dreaming on the Western Front/And home is in my heart tonight/I know my love waits for me until all the stars fall down”). His wife meanwhile takes on the bittersweet part of his sweetheart back home (“The brigadiers and generals sleep safely in their beds tonight /My love lies on the Western Front/ Amidst bombs and shells and mortars bright/I know he won’t return to me/Until all the stars all fall down”). With both Ansteads singing the final chorus together of “Until all the stars fall down” over and over, Oxley’s until now solitary guitar is joined by the gusting cries of a mournful trumpet and Louise’s sombre accordion. As one realizes as the song plays out that, exactly as Louise Anstead’s character suggests that the two lovers, like a million other war torn lovers across the generations, are unlikely to be ever reunited, the effect is absolutely spinechilling. In their small but immaculately formed catalogue, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ in its overwhelming humanity is the Stars of Aviation’s greatest moment yet. Most of the members of the Stars of Aviation have relocated during the last year to London. One hopes that this may lead to an increased level of output from them, but, even if one has to wait another three years for another record from them, if they can continue to make music of this haunting captivity and subtlety, it will have been worth the wait.



Track Listing:-
1 Marie Et L'Accordéon
2 All Quiet On The Western Front



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Interview (2002)
Stars Of Aviation - Interview
The British group, the Stars of Aviation, formed only a year and a half ago, but in the short time since then this Cambridge-based band has already achieved more than a lot of other small, self-finan

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Good Ship, London, 8/5/2007
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With nine people and a variety of instruments cramped on to the same stage, Anthony Dhanendran is impressed by Stars of Aviation's quietly forceful blend of indie pop


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