Review : Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti Is...Skyscraper
EwJulian Plenti is actually Paul Banks of Interpol, New York's most stylish indie-rock outfit. On his solo debut, Banks retains Interpol's gloomy atmosphere — one tune is called ''No Chance Survival'' — but exchanges the band's orderly post-punk throb for a scrappier brand of alt-folk introspection. Given his chilly demeanor, Banks makes for an uneasy balladeer, and he sometimes overcompensates with treacly string arrangements. But on Skyscraper's dark gems like ''Girl on the Sporting News,'' where a slo-mo beat provides a crucial pulse, he imagines what Cat Power might sound like as a well-dressed dude. B–...full text
StrangeglueThe first line to be uttered from Interpol front-man Paul Banks' mouth on his new solo record pretty much immediately sums up everything about it's motives and why the CD is even here in the first place.
Maybe he was frustrated with his very own band and their situation at the time, or maybe he just needed a separate musical vent but either way, Julian Plenti has arrived and he's not very happy.
The previously quoted lyric comes from introductory song Only If You Run and it's by and large a near perfect opener for a CD like this. After a brief experimental twenty seconds we're thrown into a lazy, simple base-line followed by basic, effective percussions and Mr Banks himself. He seems to be having so much fun, driving the whole thing but never once demanding to command, easily recognising himself as the track's focal point yet never overbearing. The vocal rhythm suits him too and exemplifies why he's simply one of the best musicians in the industry; "These lonely dedications I've found, they bring me peace and light when three fold applications of doubt surround my fate." Whomever declared that his lyrics weren't one of his strongest points should begin inserting their foot directly into their mouth.
Now, to get rid of the looming question that raises high above the fans and listener's heads; yes it does sound like Interpol and no it isn't a 'sell-out' record at all. It's dark, laced with maturity, cryptic at points and sure as hell isn't waiting, penis ready, for the mainstream to kindly fellate its ego. Track three Skyscraper holds just one repeated line, formed by just five words, four of which are the same two words and one of which is the songs title. "Shake me. Shake me. Skyscraper." The music builds eerily in the background, piano-keys sending shivers to the spine, dulled strings pricking each of your neck-hairs, forcing them to stand on end. Atmospherically, it's on par with Our Love To Admire's drastically barren Lighthouse, not in style but in how effectively it changes the surrounding mood. You simply can't do anything but listen and immerse yourself within its glow, regardless of what you can smell burning in the kitchen. ...full text
Clashmusic.Julian Plenti – or Interpol's Paul Banks as he's better known – releases his debut album after many a year tinkering away behind the scenes, beyond the spotlight that follows him when fronting the celebrated New York rockers.
Inspired by a computer production program that allowed him complete creative control over the recording process, ‘…Skyscraper’ is an intriguing project, one that mixes songs from the last century (‘Girl on the Sporting News’) with new material, backed with strings, piano, acoustic guitar and Morse code synths that range from the tender (‘Skyscraper’) to the confrontational (‘Games for Days’)....full text
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