Detonate : Aeroplane

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Balearic dance music has taken a dip in recent times. Ibiza has been reduced to the status of hipster honeymoon destination, and the DJs that reside there don’t do much except provide suitable beats and drugs. Who now will save the region from becoming Euro-trash Central (if it isn’t already)?

Enter Aeroplane, who has been plotting a course through the cosmos of discoland with an unpredictable nu sound. Combining luscious walls of psych guitars, pop codas, big beats, meat-moving basslines and melancholic melodies, modern dance music has never been this exciting and OTT since David Bowie decided, ‘Let’s Dance’.

The tour de force used to consist of classically trained, Italian studio maestro Vito DeLuca and his Belgium buddy Stephen Fasano. Together, they remixed the likes of Grace Jones’ ‘William’s Blood’, Friendly Fires’ ‘Paris’ and Sebastien Tellier’s ‘Kilometer’. But now Vito flies solo and he seems fine with it. “Stephen’s gonna do music on his own, I’m gonna do music on my own. I’m the studio guy, he was more the DJ so when the music became more important, the more I was alone in the studio. The future of Aeroplane was this album and I wrote it and played every instrument,” Vito publicly crosschecked on his MySpace.

While they’re still friends, it’s good to know that Vito’s vision of success for We Can’t Fly saw past its unenthusiastic title. From the dramatic 80s blockbuster opener ‘Mountains Of Moscow’, it’s a nonstop assault of strobe synths and fiery guitars, neatly wrapped up with lots of heart and soul. Imagine the band Starship being attacked by a Flash Gordon-Freddie Mercury hybrid in a TIE Fighter. OTT? Yes! And it’s not quite 70s or 80s, but retains some stardust from that bygone era.

The title track-lead single’s intro brings to mind the hit of another avian-named band. “We can fly, come on let’s try,” spoken by a child sounds a bit like Air France’s ‘Collapsing At Your Doorstep’ but not for long, cos it breaks into-shock horror-wah-wah guitar reggae with big mama choir backup vocals.

On making an unconventional dance album, Vito has this to say: “We’ve been put in the dance music category but I’m a songwriter, that’s what I know how to do. I wanted to go back to proper pop music, not being forced to do 9-minute tracks so the DJ can mix in before and after,” said Vito. Even on dancier tracks like ‘Superstar’, there’s an element of lead vocal, be it a roboticised one singing “Why you wanna do it? 1-2-3, 1-2-3, *^%$*@…”

The guest list for We Can’t Fly is mighty high up there too. Nicolas Ker, frontman of French Italo disco outfit Poni Hoax (on ‘Fish In The Sky’); dream pop outfit Au Revoir Simone, who appear on the album’s sentimental closer (‘We Fall Over’); London’s Jonathan Jeremiah (on ‘Good Riddance’); and Merry Clayton, who backed Mick Jagger on Vito’s favourite Rolling Stones song ‘Gimme Shelter’, graced her diva presence on ‘I Don’t Feel’-which could be an updated version of ‘I Will Survive’.

JUICE is currently getting super-high on this album! Now all there is to do is wait for Vito to perform here with his expanded onstage line-up. That should be a trip.

We Can’t Fly is currently available via Eskimo Recordings. Fly to to see what’s up.