STA is now Ten Years Old

Our Best Kept Secret Also happens To Be One Of Our Brightest Hopes

So far so good. In the Jetplane Landing scheme for world domination (one which has, for some reason, largely avoided the hype of mainstream media), things have been going slowly, but to plan. Relentless gigging, explosive live shows and a word-of-mouth fan-base that many fledgling outfits would kill for are all vital components, but this could be the final step in the plan – following up their promising debut with a second effort that could well cement the place amongst Britain’s best bands.

It’s true, they’ve started writing pop songs, so there’s no little of keeping them under wraps any longer. So much of it just screams, ‘hello radio!’, boasting three-and-a-half-minute, hook-ridden songs that are as memorable as they are vitriolic. If only the old wireless really did sound like this – pray that someday you wake up to something as wonderful as opener "The Violence" spewing from your speakers.

Bizarrely, perhaps their catchiest moments come with what are in fact their most disjointed compositions, in particular the awesome "Calculate The Risk" employing the best use of stops, starts and silly time-signatures since At The Drive-In smouldered into the history books. Not for a long time will you have walked around singing to yourself something quite as abrasive as this, but there’s a few tunes on ‘Once Like A Spark’ that will promote precisely such a reaction. It’s the perfect album for those who wish Fugazi had more tunes, milking that oft overlooked gap between noise and sweet, sweet melody.

And for every moment of full-on rock, there’s a sparse but no less energetic composition lurking just around the corner, a ‘Tethered By All That We Know’ or a marvellous a ‘Do It… Now’ proving the ‘Landing have more than one string to their bow. This won’t be the album in what will hopefully be a lengthy career that will see the band at their most experimental or boundary pushing (we hope that’s yet to come), but it will go down as the one where they mastered melody – "Conventional Thought", as a demo, has shouting, contorting guitar-lines and unpredicted bursts of noise, but all have been fitted neatly into a verse-chorus structure so rewarding it should cause anyone within listening-distance to break into a beaming glow.

‘Once Like A Spark’ strays gloriously close to anthem territory more often than not ("Brave Gravity", "The Strength Of Our Conviction"), but you can’t imagine this filling stadiums (The Darkness will do more than adequately for that). These are stand up for the little man songs, both touching and powerful in equal measure. It’s a quality that makes JP one of our most precious jewels.

Although it’s full of tantalising hints as to where the band will head next, the record does confirm one thing for certain. The toilet-circuit’s grip on Jetplane Landing will soon have to slip, as depriving the masses of such a joy is surely a crime - our best kept secret also happens to be one of our brightest hopes.

- Tom Hannan, Rock Feedback