The FREQUENCY-IRELAND Music Alternative

An independent voice on choice sounds from the alternative/underground music scene in Ireland.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Headgear - Flight Cases

Accompanying me on a long haul flight over to the far east recently, to face my ration of humiliation in a job where I had little or no time to prepare, Flight Cases was on repeat. As it happened, my latest on-line purchase, it was the only album on my mp3 player in my rush to make the flight, and my only companion for the week. As an album built predominantly over minimalist melodies, the songs on Flight Cases are allowed to stand tall on their own merit, and fit together as quite an elaborate concept album. From the very first pass, one can see it embraces the eccentric that is within all of us, the fragility and tragedy of the human condition, fears and emotional challenges, bravery and self-defiance. Taken from one perspective, the fear of flying alluded to so much on this album could be associated with the fear of taking a leap of faith with life.

It opens quite fittingly to Harry Truman, an analogy to the lodge owner who perished as Mount St. Helens blew back in 1980 due to his steadfast refusal to leave his home. Later the album picks up on Mister Petit, with another analogy to an eccentric who went down in history, the French highwire performer Phillipe Petit who picked his way between the World Trade Centre's Twin Towers on a tightrope in 1974. Coupled with cover art which reflects on a virtual highwire strung between Dublin's famous Millennium Spike, constructed in 2003, and Nelson's Pillar, demolished on the same site back in 1966, perhaps the highwire act in this case is about rewinding the clock on ones misadventures in life, or just waiting on life's highwire ready to take on what challenges lie ahead. Elsewhere we are treated to a charming look at the flight from romance with the Icarus Girl, reflecting 'all I could see was the dark sky when I looked into her eyes' showing where some see infinity in darkness, for others who fail to see the beauty in it, there is only emptiness. Both 'To Heaven' and closing track 'A Great Singsong In The Sky' take on dark humour with references to ones afterlife, the former a standout track with thunderous guitars which give its line 'come with me all the way down' quite a demonic singe. Elsewhere, amongst some lesser lights, The Emergency Position stands out as a more light hearted cartoon on ones fear of flying, while Airborne, contines the theme with a denial of any interest whatsoever.

Back to my flight, hitting heavy turbulence while passing over the Himalayas, the album cycled back to the beginning, with opening track Harry Truman on play for the fifth time. 'You can move the mountain but I'm never coming down' seemed quite humorous at the time, but it triggered the song for me. It may be about the mindset of the old lodge owner who refused to evacuate his home on Mount St. Helens as it was about to blow, but at that moment it was about standing firm with a struggle to get a career back off the ground 'I have climbed my mountain' even if it meant abandoning other aspects of life 'I have wasted enough time' and a denial that the simple life really mattered that much 'I don't believe in this life and I never have'. Of course we all come back down eventually one way or another, and several hours later, as the plane touched down in Taiwan, Harry Truman was playing yet again, reminding me that he had made the wrong call, and I wasn't going to let myself get run over by any of my life's pending pressures. The first priority was to explore, and take it easy for a while. The next day was going to be long enough.

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