Review: Julian Plenti – Julian Plenti Is… Skyscraper

With drummer Sam Fogarino having already teamed up with Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin for Magnetic Morning, there is now another Interpol band member experimenting with a different kind of music. The man is Paul Banks, the frontman and owner of that very distinctive “sad robot” voice. He doesn’t fare too badly either.

Unsurprisingly, Banks solo doesn’t sound that far removed from his erstwhile employers. Where the main difference lies is in song structure. Initially the likes of ‘Fun That We Have’ and ‘Fly As You Might’ don’t appear to deviate too much from the miserablism/euphoria of Banks’ usual band but the verse chorus traditions are toyed with.  Fogarino lends his percussion prowess to the agitated ‘Games For Days’; definitely the most Interpol-like offering on the album.

Strangely, it takes a near instrumental for Banks to make his most original impression as the soundtrack-worthy ‘Skyscraper’ winds down a morose route laden with strings, acoustic guitar and Wild West ambience. The piano-led ‘Madrid Song’ is similarly filmic but less epic. Thanks to its blasts of trumpet, ‘Unwind’ sounds celebratory and triumphant whilst ‘Girl On The Sporting News’ shivers with mystery and even a little sensuality.

‘…Skyscraper’ is a very worthwhile solo album which proves that Banks has more than one string to his bow and is not just the mouthpiece for one of New York’s most admired bands. He is, after all, a guitarist in the band too lest we forget. Yet however admirable this record may be, it does lack the cohesion and addictive qualities of the first three Interpol albums.

Web Sites:
Julian Plenti Official Site
Julian Plenti MySpace

Further Listening:
Interpol

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