With an expansive poetic expression, the new track from Blackbirds FC rings with clarity and yearning as it is carried by luminescent harmonies and jangling guitars. Blackbirds FC have a deeply ingrained antipodean genetic make-up that stretches from over the ditch with The Chills and The Bats to The Go-Betweens and all that glorious jangle pop in between. This was on full display in earlier single ‘Island of the Dogs (premiered by me here) and ‘Transport Planes’ just kicks it out of the field.
Songwriter Jeremy Gronow provides a detailed and fascinating background to the track:
‘Transport Planes’ is about that liminal space between sleep and waking, dreaming and thinking. The other day for example, I was in bed dozing between alarms when there was an earthquake in Melbourne – I remember feeling the bed shaking back and forth and thinking ‘Ah, we’re having an earthquake’ and then closing my eyes again.
Looking back I think I should have been more alarmed. It was also pretty challenging – I mean, what kind of person sleeps through an earthquake? But such is the weird power of not being quite awake.”
The song has its roots in a childhood memory of hearing an aeroplane fly over the house most nights about midnight. It was propeller driven and seemed very low and loud as it flew over me but I found it comforting. I asked Dad and he said it was a transport plane flying to Tasmania which gave me the first line.
Years later I was lying in bed in the midst of a relationship break up and listening to all these things happening around me – trucks passing, the couple upstairs going at it and so forth – and the rest of the song came.
I did some reading and found that sounds seems louder and travels further at night because they bounce off the layers of cold air and back to the ground and that became the bridge, so this song is all bad love and science.
The themes perfectly capture a perfect elision between memories and the comfort they bring, and the anxieties of our current reality. And Blackbirds F.C. deliver it in such a perfectly beautiful package with strings providing a comforting sweep under the crystalline guitars and vaulting melodies. This is gloriously epic material:
‘Transport Planes’ is out now on Bandcamp (above), and through all the usual streaming services here. Absolutely sublime.