Julian Plenti – Julian Plenti is Skyscraper (Matador) 03/08/2009

August 19, 2009 by  

Julian-Plenti

Sixth-formers of the world rejoice. Interpol front-man Paul Banks has returned to the musical fray with a new solo-album released under the moniker Julian Plenti. Not just content with dominating the post-Joy Division, melancholic angular guitar kind-of stuff, which is being duplicated year in year out by mediocre indie bands, the voice of doom has decided it’s time to show-off just how diverse and musically gifted he actually is. And to be fair, on Julian Plenti is Skyscraper, Banks really does demonstrate a level of depth and versatility that his previous band lacked.

‘Game for Days’ is as close to an Interpol tune as you’ll find on this record. The guitars are angular and flit from visceral to delicate in the flick of a wrist. Plentis’ vocals are as usual a dark wobbly contortion of angst ridden lyrics which compliment the melancholic tone of the music perfectly. However, the rest of the record sees Plenti try and distance himself from his previous band’s distinctive, but ultimately restrictive sound. Many will agree that as the final song on Antics came to an end Interpol sounded like a band that had exhausted all the avenues their sound would permit.

Julina Plenti is Skyscraper is a far more eclectic effort. ‘Unwind’ is a compelling combination of an uplifting fanfare and droning organs, with a middle eight complete with a string quartet thrown in for good measure. The inclusion of strings does not stop there, Semi title track ‘Skyscraper’ is an unobtrusive folk song, which is brought to the forefront by the accompanying macabre string backdrop. It’s this pattern of building songs with orchestral elements and more classic Banks song-writing traits that flows throughout the whole album.

JPIS, is an accomplished collection of songs, which will silence the strongest of critics, but Banks’ sense of foreboding does come to the forefront of too many of the songs, making them only bearable to the most hardened Interpol fans. That is not to say this is an album to be dismissed by those not already well versed in Interpol. The sheer diversity and talent on display is enough to warrant a listen and will surely elevate Paul Banks’ music from the common room and into the public consciousness.

By Chris Cummins

[rating:4]


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