Thomas Jefferson's Aeroplane
The Invisible Ocean
Two Pittsburgh music-scene vets have teamed up on a collaborative album: Bill Deasy (yeah, he of Gathering Field fame) and Rich Jacques of Brownie Mary, now based in Los Angeles. That much is simple. But by what twist this project became known as Thomas Jefferson's Aeroplane is a bit harder to fathom. Did Deasy and Jacques bond over Jeffersonian ideals ... or the Jefferson Airplane catalog? Intriguing.
Fans of 1990s Pittsburgh -- and '90s pop-rock in general -- will find much to wax nostalgic over in the duo's new CD, The Invisible Ocean. The travelin'-man song "Know That I Would" seems a nod to The Verve's more accessible moments on Urban Hymns, and also to hometown roots, with the line "How's Pittsburgh / I'm sure that it's raining." "Harder Than It Needs To Be" is somewhat reminiscent of U2's latter-day earnest-pop-rock-plus-electronic-beats endeavors, or perhaps something from Daniel Lanois' For the Beauty of Winona.
Backing Deasy's and Jacques' smooth vocals are various combinations of acoustic guitars, keyboard beds, poppy electric guitars, programmed beats and female backing vocals from the "Flight Crew."
The disc has its playful moments -- "Just About You" is one of those silly love songs Paul told you about -- but the mood of much of the material is earnest and emotive. Take "You're Not Alone," a slow crooner destined to tear-stain cheeks and make subdivision babies with lines like "When you're broken down and your heart is full of pain / I won't let you down, I'll come pick you up again / You're not alone so don't pretend to be / You're not a stone, sinking in the sea."
But whatever -- it's pop. If people like it, perhaps it's done its job. Consider the ball in your court, Pittsburgh.
Thomas Jefferson's Aeroplane CD-release shows. 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Fri., May 9. Club Café, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $15. 21 and over. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com