Like many bands, Columbus, Ohio’s Yellow Paper Planes was formed by members of other bands. The group formed after the dissolution of Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes, whose front man now leads Yellow Paper Planes. James enlisted his drummer Brandon Woods and then picked up bassist Peter Mendenhall (Go Analog, Hocking River String Band), and keyboardist and guitar player Jeremy Ebert (The Driftwood Motion). Together these musicians began the process of creating the sound that is now Yellow Paper Planes. The result can be heard on the group’s new album Building A Building, which is due out April 21st.
Today Glide Magazine is presenting an exclusive premiere of Building A Building. The album captures a young but confident band writing thoughtful songs that range from musing on the mundanities of life to asking more serious philosophical questions. While their sound can veer from folk to Americana to dramatic, drawn out arrangements, Yellow Paper Planes generally deliver straight up, no frills rock. Their songs are infectious and their sound feels like it could fill large rooms, making a Building A Building an exciting full-length debut.
Front man Joshua P. James reflects on the album:
‘Building A Building’ is three years of trying to figure out how to be this band. None of us were starting from scratch, as we’ve all been in other bands before forming Yellow Paper Planes, but it took a while for the four of us to figure out what YPP was going to be. I think we’re still figuring it out, but this full length release feels like what we were after when we first formed. Many of the songs on this record got written and torn apart and then shelved and rewritten or reiterated multiple times, and to have those realized on this record feels like a little triumph. Contra to the slugging it out, several of the songs on this record are essentially unchanged from the very first time we ever played them together, and those feel just as triumphant. Then, the closing track, from which the album title is taken, we wrote in the studio. In summation, I clearly don’t have a handle on how it all works. So it goes.
This album tackles a lot of subject matter that I generally keep pretty close to the vest in normal conversation. The lyrical fodder is me trying to answer the questions I ask myself that I generally find unanswerable. Why are we here? Now that we’re here, what exactly are we doing? What’s this dream I keep having mean? Why does this woman I live with continue to be in love with me? What’s that woman that used to love me up to? What shirt should I put on this morning? I’ve never really been in to the conceit of providing long-winded explanations of the art-at-hand as if providing the right details might make someone like it better. It always seems a little saccharine to me. While this might have some utility in conceptual visual art, I don’t know that explanations of albums make them any better. A visual artist attempting to capture or conjure an emotional response on a 2-D surface might need to provide some insight to the reason she painted the Madonna with an erect penis protruding from beneath her saintly blue robe. I don’t think songwriting works that way, not for me anyway. But that is the clever thing about an album, it’s inherent goal is to contain all that is needed to appreciate it. This album is a collection of songs. Songs are songs. For the most part you either like them or you don’t.
Yellow Paper Planes release Building A Building on April 21st. For more info and to pre-order the record visit yellowpaperplanes.com.