Torontonian rising stars have created a fun, genre-bending album that has the potential to take them far.
It’s not totally accurate to call Toronto-based duo The Airplane Boys a rap group. It’s not that they don’t rap. They do, and pretty well, at that. It’s more that the Boys—who have been carrying the “next-Toronto-act-to-blow” tag for very close to a year—make a point of screwing with genre conventions, throwing handfuls of synthpop, R&B, dubstep and house into their musical stew.
Their new album, Alignment, manages to integrate all of these diverse influences without getting lost or sounding disjointed. That’s probably because it’s all so well executed.
The production on Alignment is mostly handled by KMS, a member of The Boys’ Beau Monde creative collective. His fondness for almost haunting keyboards is one of the things that links the album’s diverse sounds—which range from the fist-pumping arena house of “Firestarter” and the sub-bass filled dubstep of “Parachutes” to the soft minimalism of “Road Trip”—together.
The Boys themselves are also fairly impressive on Alignment. Their rapid, slightly overstuffed rhyme style is remarkably versatile. It’s able to keep up with the high-energy “Firestarter,” but is also capable of being softened enough to tell a story of love gone wrong on “Black Lotus.” As singers, members Beck Motley and Bon Voyage are passable, but not great. Thankfully, they’re smart enough to break out their R&B game judiciously, using just enough on the hooks to keep things interesting, but never overcommitting by trying to actually sing an entire song.
Alignment isn’t just a neat experiment in genre-blending, it’s a really fun, listenable album. If they can keep producing albums like this, Motley and Voyage, who are already booked to appear at Coachella and South by Southwest, will be full-fledged pop stars by the end of the year.