Stars of Aviation
(Originally written for Probemusic, August 2001)

Florence. Famously, an Italian city. Less famously, the name of my girlfriend's goldfish. Somewhere between the two, but closer to the fish, Florence is also the name under which The Stars of Aviation released their debut Ted Glen EP. John Peel played it (a rite of passage completed) and the band felt that they'd achieved more than ever seemed likely when they came together (Nathan: "we were thrown together by chance") to enter The Univision Song Contest at Cambridge University.

A student band, then? Andy: "we're not desperate to be known as a student band. Ha Ha!" Being students has its upside - there's plenty of colleges to get gigs at: Andy: "Our first gig was at a Halloween party, so there were lots of people dressed as the devil with pitchforks." Nathan: "We were playing really quiet, chilled stuff because we didn't have a drummer and we only had about five songs. It was terrible. I don't know why we didn't just give up then. It's a credit to us that we carried on after that." But being a student also has its downside: three of the band have been studying abroad for the last year, which plays havoc with rehearsals. Andy: "I was stuck in St. Petersburg and it was bloody cold."

To cheer themselves up they self-released The Greatest Disappointment EP in April. Despite apt comparisons to Mercury Rev, a better touchstone is Low - but younger and very British. There's emotion in the beautifully slow songs, but its mostly repressed and only visible between the lines. The title track is a gentle waltz of self deprecation, an edge-of-the-abyss song, if you could only see the signs. Nathan, sweetly, says: "I've been listening to it quite a bit. I probably wouldn't have if we'd been together, but while I was away it was a nostalgic reminder of the guys. Whenever I felt down, I just listened to Andy's solo on The Boy Who Held His Breath Too Long. "

Future plans, seemingly made up on the spot, include "a split single with a band people have heard of. We'd be the band nobody had heard of, on the b-side." And the big-name band? Nathan: "The Trembling Blue Stars.. I've only heard one song by them actually.. We haven't really thought this through to be honest."

The Greatest Disappointment EP is available from Rough Trade and Pennyblack music. The band expect to be playing London dates during the Summer. www.starsofaviation.co.uk


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