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Small Planes

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Album Review

Unfortunately for their fans, the Innocence Mission albums are few and far between. After the critically acclaimed 1995 album Glow, there was a four-year hiatus and a label switch before Birds of My Neighborhood. The band was composing a number of songs during that period, however, and Small Planes issues some of the ones that had been left behind. Albums of this sort are often full of juvenalia and throwaways, but this collection of unreleased songs is as good as many bands' major works. Karen Peris' voice is as ethereal as ever, and the stripped-down, hypnotic accompaniment conspires to create an introspective mood. Songs like "Migration" document the melancholy, depressive feelings that the Peris had when they were trying to conceive a child, while the self-explanatory "Some Clear Joy Is Coming" is pure innocence and blessedness. Always spiritual, but rarely preachy, the Innocence Mission have manage to produce another album that is unique and special, gentle, pure, and precious.

Customer Reviews

This is the leftovers???

When the Beatles Anthology releases became some of the most sold recordings in their catalogue, many griped that the mass audience was not getting the real deal. But you can always tell the strength of a band by what didn't make the final cut. If the Innocence Mission didn't earn the title of best dreamy 90's band, it was because we were too dumb to notice. "Small Planes" proves it. For most of us, The Innocence Mission was what held us over between recordings by The Sundays and Mazzy Star. Mission's underratted 1991 release "Umbrella" and their 1995 stunner "Glow" proved they could hold their own against the.... um... softly singing female lead vocalists. Sure, the 10,000 Maniacs had the hype, but Karen sings in landscapes. During the course of "Small Planes," you'll be treated to a variety of mood pieces. Each one floats by, but leaves an impression while it whispers in your ear. There isn't bad track on this one, even if "I Have Loved You" lingers on a bit too much. If you must be selective, grab "Song About Traveling," "Too Early to Say," and "Today" for a trip into the senses. Oterwise it's worth the price of admission for the whole deal.

Such an Awesome Album

This album is an incredible musical journey. Though I seem to have a stronger connection with a different song each time I listen to this album, my two consistent favorites are "Some Clear Joy is Coming" - the guitar is INSANEly beautiful - and the title track "Small Planes" - the music and progression is beautiful, but the lyrics and vocals hold a particular place in my heart, as Karen belts out towards the end, "twenty five miles or thousands of miles, when am I going to get there" I have listened to these two over and over and over again at different times, and they are two of my favorite songs of all time - not just my favorite songs by this band. Ironically, a song that was not on my favorites list at all is now probably my third favorite song "I left the grounds" - I think because of the very sparse music over which such a powerful and emotional subject is discussed. "Migration", "Songs about traveling", and "Today" are other favorites. If you haven't listened to The Innocence Mission before, though, you absolutely have to start with their third album "Glow" and work your way through "Birds of my Neighborhood" to this album. You will not be disappointed.

An amazing record

This is one of my favorite records of all time, the simplicity of the arrangements and the deeply spiritual tones of their content is beautifully accentuated by the lovely vocal melodies and shimmering guitar work. I find this album to be their most introspective and deeply felt material (for a long time Befriended was my favorite, and i still adore it), Songs like "The Girl On My Left" and "Migration" are such honest and gorgeous portraits. These are genuine people searching, and being driven by a greater power then can be imagined: A power that can only be the source of creation.


Formed: 1982 in Lancaster, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Centered around the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Don Peris (vocals, guitar) and Karen Peris (vocals, guitar, piano), Lancaster, Pennsylvania natives the Innocence Mission crafted a tasteful, politically correct brand of collegiate folk-pop similar to Sarah McLachlan or 10,000 Maniacs (in fact, the Perises appeared on Natalie Merchant's 1998 album Ophelia). With a rhythm section composed of bassist Mike Bitts and drummer Steve Brown, the Innocence Mission released their eponymous debut album...
Full Bio
Small Planes, The Innocence Mission
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