taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of the moment

THE ROSEBUDSLoud Planes Fly Low

As impossible as it is to listen closely to the Rosebuds’ fifth release, Loud Planes Fly Low, and ignore the made-for-TV backstory, it does make for interesting context to what’s a little different than you’ve come to expect from the Raleigh duo of Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp. The album tells the story of the onetime lifemates, still bandmates in a raw and emotional context, all but removed from the sugary, dance-floor-ready vibe that made Life Like and Birds Make Good Neighbors such fun listens. Yet, possibly like their floundered marriage, Loud Planes Fly Low finds Crisp and Howard having trouble seeing eye to eye. As assiduously personal as Howard can be on the lonesome reflection of “Go Ahead,” Crisp is flippant and cavalier in her lone lead track. A potentially fantastic hook becomes a bad turn of phrase on “Come Visit Me,” as she delivers the titular chorus dripping with suggestion and follows it with what’s essentially a ham-fisted punch line in “Even if it f*cks me up.” Conversely, Howard can find himself being a raging bore on occasion, especially as “Waiting For This” drags more with every stoic reiteration of his discontent. You’ll find no complaint instrumentally, however. Every note and arrangement is considered, from the bed of ethereal strings in “Limitless Arms” to the percussive punctuation from the revolving drum chair in “A Story.”

As a whole, it’s an album where the listener experiences a retelling of every stage of their relationship, mining for abstruse meaning in every line, but what Loud Planes Flies Low lacks, and their relationship seemingly by extension, is the inevitable sense of anger that accompanies every failed partnership.

Sure, there are a few outbursts of emotion. Howard finds his voice on the anthemic “Woods,” the album’s loudest and best track, but the rest of the time they’re awash in the arrival and the aftermath. If there was a climactic moment there and left no creative footprint, it seems like a missed opportunity, which is essentially to what Loud Planes Fly Low amounts.