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Flightless

Flightless: Originally a peon to self-pity, which then became the tale of a warped relationship, and then something to do with dodos and imperialism.

The lyric eventually settled into a story of the ultimate triumph of passive resistance. They shall not pass. The meek shall inherit the earth. They’re going nowhere!

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A Tiding of Magpies

Tidings of Magpies: Written by Tom on the bus home after Leeroy had mentioned in passing, during a rehearsal session, that the collective noun for a group of magpies was ‘a tiding’.

Jennifer Murray provides the cor anglais solo. Leeroy found the clockwork sound effects. Tom plays a nylon-string acoustic guitar and a range of kitchen implements.

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Lift me up and take me home

Lift me up and take me home: A cartoon-style war story crossed with a tale of doomed romance. While it’s by no means a happy ending, I’d like to think it’s not entirely devoid of hope either.

Tom’s aluminium teapot forms an important part of the rhythm section. Jennifer Murray plays tenor recorder. Leeroy provides the big chords.

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Fly away peter, fly away Paul

Fly away Peter, Fly away Paul: This was the first of the nine flight songs to be written. Both the lyrics and the tune originally appeared in an unsettling dream. Tom awoke from troubled sleep and immediately reached for his guitar to work out the chords and a notebook to jot down the lyrics. It was only later he realised that the chorus of the song had been lifted entirely from Johnny Cash's ‘Cry, Cry, Cry’.

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Flightless

Helium: A child accidentally lets go the string of a lighter-than-air balloon and it floats away into the sky, evading any despairing attempts at recapture; it’s this awful feeling that informs the lyric. The music is structured around a repeated sequence of chords, each repetition gaining another layer of sound until all is suddenly swept away to leave Tom’s growling, sibilant-heavy solo vocal.

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Flightless

Stone Angel: One of the earliest of the flight songs to be written, but one of the last to be recorded.

Both the tune and the lyrics went through a number of different versions along the way, before the Siskins finally settled on the song in its current form.

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Flightless

The Air: Cathartic musings on mortality set to a retro-style accompaniment, including the kitschy G / Em / Am / D chord progression in the chorus, plus angelic backing vocals from Louise and Elaine. This song also features the supreme indulgence of a whistle solo, provided by Norwich-based multi-instrumentalist James Dexter.

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Airborne

Airborne: There’s a dreamy vibe to this song, an attempt at a musical soufflé by two men perhaps more accustomed to rustling up audio scrambled eggs. Despite the floaty tone though,

Airborne remains tethered to the ground by Tom’s rasping vocal delivery. Leeroy plays the delay-drenched guitar. Tom added the bongos.

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Aeronautilus

Aeronautilus: Based on a tune originally played by Leeroy’s old band (Occupied Spaces), this track conjures up a cinematic atmosphere. Leeroy’s guitar parts are laid on in layers. Tom added the mouth organ, the snare drum and a stainless-steel colander.

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