Back in 2006, in a small Welsh town, Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn began to make music together in the form of Paper Aeroplanes, and three years later they had their debut album The Day We Ran Into The Sea. The welsh duo have a very distinctive sound and have certainly not gone unnoticed, with their genre escaping style allowing them to support the likes of Ed Sheeran and Marina & The Diamonds and become one of Wales’ greatest exports since Duffy. After the success of their debut album they are back with an EP Time To Be which, along with their huge UK tour, is sure to bring them the wider acclaim they are destined for.
From the opening of title-track Time To Be, you will already be under the spell of Howells’ vocals. The delicate finger picking slowly becomes layered with echoing guitar, a pounding bass drum and then harmonies with herself and Llewellyn to become a full-blown anthem of optimism, as they both tell us to ‘capture the highs and banish the lows’, an ideal that is sure to be fulfilled by the end of the EP if the opener is anything to go by. The EP quickly takes a darker, and more folky, turn with Red Rover which once again layers up wonderfully with the steady plucked rhythm turning to trembling guitar, which is enough to send chills down your spine. Her haunting background vocals coupled with the clashing tambourine seem like lost echoes on the unsettled sea that this track brings to mind.
Their greatest talent seems to lie in their ability to seamlessly change the mood of this EP. One second you are being washed away with Red Rover, but then This Land Won’t Shake washes you back up on the sunny shore with its bouncy, uplifting, yet still charmingly melancholic, feel, which has a hint of Anais Mitchell in her more energetic moments. There doesn’t seem like there is one song that wasn’t given full emotional attention, and this is perhaps most apparent in Aberystwyth, as she passionately relates all the painful memories that the town brings to her, creating a wonderfully powerful and intimate story that you can’t help but feel a part of.
Paper Aeroplanes have that special talent of making powerful, and often negative, emotions enjoyable to listen to. Their lack of bias towards a certain genre certainly acts in their favour, as it allows them to create such yearning and hopeful songs like EP closer Only A Lifetime, which, like the others, is laced with such sincerity and delicate arrangements that they will please all lovers of both elevating pop and heartening folk. They are definitely one to watch, and one to put your feet up to and lose yourself in.