“Julian Plenti Is… Skyscraper” – ‘Julian Plenti’ [Joint Review]
And so, again, the titans clash, and the roar of thunder can be heard throughout the Earth. Whose music reigns supreme? None shall answer, for to answer the un-answer-able is to defy the belief of what and where and why an answer should exist…
… Oh, sorry, wrong blog, wrong review. It might play relevance, however, because today me and my partner have decided to tackle ‘Interpol’s’ lead-singer ‘Paul Banks’ side-project. Now, I’ll set the records straight. I think, although I’m not a 100% sure, but I think I introduced Michael Hodder, a wee-few years ago, to a lonely, somewhat unnoticed band-at-the-time called ‘Interpol’. They had a really pessimistic-attitude buried deep beneath their songs, and their music was generally of a quality that was lacking at the time.
Don’t ask me the exact year, but it was much before these reviews even came into being. It was a time when things were much more simpler than they are now. And ever since that day, I suppose, I’ve really enjoyed listening to ‘Interpol’. Although I personally think they’ve matured in the wrong direction over the course of the past few years, because that classic taste they had with their first album left their second, and was somewhat muted in the third, fans will find little, if any, influence taken in: “Julian Plenti Is… Skyscraper”.
I must admit that I held no prior anticipation for this album whatsoever. It was something that my partner had been mentioning on-and-off for about a solid month, and I’d taken perhaps the occasional interest, not that I don’t avidly listen to his musical-knowledge:
“When’s it being released?”
“… Soon,” he would reply.
“Has it leaked yet?”
“… Nope,’ he would reply.
But other than that, nothing much else. And I’m a little disappointed, as I am with a majority of side-project albums. In my opinion, they tend to be a little rushed composition-wise, and it seems whoever deviates from their original band is being a little unfaithful. Instead of putting their full attention and musical-capabilities to their first-and-foremost, it’s somewhat arrogant to go gallivanting off on another crusade with another bunch of zealous followers to claim the relic of Jerusalem. And it’s not the first side-project from ‘Interpol’ either, their drummer did the same – and, again, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about that either. ‘Paul Banks’, if you’re reading this, you’re next ‘Interpol’ album better be epic+ or I’m going to scold you for it!
… My partner also commented on my enthusiastic-dislike of britpop, the most-loathsome of all pop – ‘Jarvis Cocker’ has rendered me inert to it’s teachings, sadly. I’d never looked at this album from a britpop-perspective. I can’t find those characteristics in “… Skyscraper” that I can with some other albums, like ‘Cocker’s’ among others. “… Skyscraper” has a sort of lazy-optimism about it, whereas the ‘Paul Banks’ I’m accustomed to has this sort of “I-could-give-a-toss-but-I-can’t-be-bothered” whine in his voice that emphatically draws you along. I’m not even sure what constitutes britpop, it’s another growing mongrel-genre that’s starting to get overused without success. If the britpop’ I’m thinking of contains poorly-strung lyrics, simplistic rhythms and tunes, then I don’t quite think of “… Skyscraper” in that overall direction.
It’s a definite mix of alternative meets rock, and occasionally ‘Powderfinger-esque’ sounds creep through the sound-barrier and repel me further. There isn’t much of a ground-breaking performance here, and experimental-lovers will find themselves without a teddy to cuddle on this cold, cold night. Classic-lovers might be drawn to the overdrawn guitar, percussion and bass, but it’s nothing to go wax-lyrical about. When it comes to ‘Banks’, I was just about sure until this album that he could sing anything he put his mind to, his voice is so versatile in tone, but this regression to atavism is less than impressive.
We’ll get straight into it, shall we?
“Only If You Run” just about epitomises what you’ll expect from “… Skyscraper”, and it’s this lack of definition, this constant repetition, that keeps you in a unmoving state of boredom. My partner said that this and the second-track were the real hurdles that listeners had to overcome before they found themselves ecstatic. But I drone on, and on, and on, and on about an album’s BEGINNING in all of my reviews, how this is the bait, and I’m the fish, and if it looks like shit-on-a-stick, it probably is shit-on-a-stick…
I was almost fooled with the synth-esque beginning, which quickly faded and turned to ‘… damn, I’ve been suckered…’ and out came the elec. guitar, the acou. percussion and the “…. oooooh…. oohhh…” of ‘Banks’ voice. The lyrics:
“… Only if you run…”
… Basically sums up what you and others should be doing after the twenty-second mark – only if you run can you make it farther-enough from this uninspiring failure. It is the bare-minimum of a song, comprised of a solo, a chorus, a solo, a chorus, the facade of an epic finish, and an abrupt halt, now thrust into track two:
“Fun That We Have” starts off with the tickle of guitar, and the lyrics:
“… With all the fun that we have, we have come far…”
Nothing special, just a song with these lyrics that go over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and then a change, and then over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over… and… over…. and over… and… Finish. Statement-much?
“Skyscraper” sees the first appearance of an acou. guitar, and it’s like a puddle of mud in a desert – nothing else to drink, so drink it. The tickle of guitar begins again, and some piano appears – so maybe, just maybe, there’s a fly in the mud; nothing else to eat, so eat it too. If anything came close to a favourite on this album, this would be my only least-disliked track.
… And by now you’re wondering:
“… Why does this guy/gal even bother with such drivel? We get the point already, just shut up and give us a rating for god’s sake, for all our sakes, hurry up!”
Sorry, but I just had to hammer in my argument to make dead-sure everybody knew my disposition on side-projects and britpop. No-buy, from me, no chance, my money’s better spent on other things, like ear-plugs. ‘Bank’s’, my friend, you’re lucky I’m staying faithful to ‘Interpol’ after this miserable crusade. If you gain followers, it’s obviously because of your hypnotic-voice, and the free brainwashing-brain-bugs that come with the album’s purchase…
What the fu….
… get it off, get it off!
I RESCIND ALL OF THE ABOVE REVIEW… “JULIAN PLENTI IS… SKYSCRAPER” IS THE GREATEST ALBUM IN THE WORLD, ALL BOW BEFORE YOUR BENEVOLENT LEADER ‘PAUL BANKS’.