Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Julian Plenti-Julian Plenti is Skyscraper

Interpol is a New York Indie Rock band that has gained a reputation for their post-punk revival style. Their latest album, Our Love to Admire marked the band’s move to Capitol Records and was not the most creative endeavor on their part. With that said, I was excited to hear, Paul Banks, the band’s vocalist was to release his first solo record Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper. A slight departure from the sounds of Interpol but also a reminder of the early strengths they revealed when first arriving on the scene.
“Unwind” the opening track is rightfully titled, almost immediately you feel this sense of relaxation and looser sounding chords in comparison to the music made with Interpol. Although carrying a similar punch, it sounds like Julian Plenti; Banks’ alter ego carries interests in multi instrumental orchestration and creating a variation in the overall musical tonality. “Skyscraper” the second track, there is an overall alteration to his approach with a delicately laid out intro, allowing listeners to scale the skyscraper arriving at its peak. Paul’s baritone plays such an intricate and important role in the music centered on him, pensively serving a lullaby of reality and emotion. It’s very interesting to see a more romanticized perspective in contrast to the upbeat art rock stomps most familiar with Interpol’s music. “Games for a Day”; the first single of the album and fourth track is seemingly the first hint of a similarity to Interpol. A familiarity rings in Julian’s sound as though Banks felt he needed a comfort zone and utilize Interpol’s successful characteristics to introduce his new moniker. By the middle of the album, his music unwinds a little too much for my taste. I begin to hear an over production in its style and his subject matter seems a bit dated and unoriginal. Fortunately, with “On the Esplanade” a page is turned and Julian returns to his path of an introspective journey to define his creative future while comparatively looking back to his urban footsteps while exploring a more mountainous terrain. As the trend seems to continue for artists to venture away from the bands they have created a career with to explore creative alternatives while on hiatus. Paul/Julian seems to expose a hidden facet, his musical abilities are layered and not as one dimensional and flat as Interpol’s recent out has made them seem.
“Madrid Song” includes a sweet-laced piano melody throughout along with a garbled sample to support his prominently present vocals. The final two tracks of the album which have lyrics seems to be Julian’s internal conversation or reflection about his idea of a current relationship. On one aspect, he claims his possession of her while in the next his pessimistic side has subconsciously given up all hope of whatever mystery may lie within. The album is concluded with an eerie instrumental track leaving the listener in a haze of hopefulness. The album is an apparent attempt for Banks to re inspire his creative identity. It is a fine blend of the musician we have come to enjoy with Interpol and an introduction of a gentler aspect of the man behind the mask. Aside from his slight stray, it’s an overall success in branding a facet of Banks’ creativity and creating an excitement for Interpol’s future as this would be a strong aide in the evolution of the post punk band.

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