Paper Airplane (Mystery Lawn Records)
Be sure to circle September 4th on your calendar because that’s the day Marshall Holland’s long awaited fifth studio album, Paper Airplane, will be available. Not only has the San Francisco-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist already issued a pair of singles from the forthcoming set to whet hungry appetites, but yours truly has been fortunate enough to be treated to a sneak preview of the whole album.
The title track has been tapped as the first single from the album. Bathed in a hypnotic light, Paper Airplane floats with ease to Marshall’s soothing purr that emotes the joy of being greeted by a sunny morning, making a paper airplane and imagining climbing on board and flying high in the sky. The dreamy flower pop mellowness of the song is pierced with a run of hard-hitting licks, and subsequently cops a trick or two from The Fifth Dimension’s 1967 chart-topper, Up, Up And Away. Also selected as a single is the beautifully performed and arranged Waiting For That Peace & Love, which imparts optimism in this challenging and confusing time we currently live in. Gushing with classically-attuned piano work, the contemplatively-conceived sentiment affirms Marshall’s gift for playing and composing music that touches the heart and the soul.
Marshall’s warm and polished vocals, complemented by the orderly construction and melodic metaphysics of his material, frequently echo the kind of soft rock sounds that were so prominent on AM radio during the early seventies. Songs like When The Rain Comes and Look Into My Eyes further reflect the tone and technicalities of the genre Marshall primarily mines.
While the influence of bands such as Bread, America and Seals and Croft do dominate the proceedings on Paper Airplane, a jangly country folk tenor fires I’m Checkin’ Out, which was authored by co-producer Michael Brooks. Then there’s the sassy power pop of Don’t Do It that could possibly be The Monkees in disguise, where She Buys A Dress kicks off to a rush of frenzied surf styled drumming before detouring into a new wave realm populated with nervous rhythms, nail-biting hooks and bouncy keyboard drills.
Fashioned of songs that evoke a variety of thoughts and feelings, Paper Airplane is a rewarding effort from a very talented fellow who knows how to mold his art into something special. Those with a sweet tooth for ultra-catchy pop songs are advised to take an audio ride on Paper Airplane and prepare for a harmonious flight.