Album: Julian Plenti, Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper (Matador)

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The Independent Culture

Julian Plenti may well be Skyscraper – whatever that means – but he'll be better known to you as Paul Banks, British-born frontman of Joy Division wannabes Interpol, whose recycling of new-wave cliches hoisted their album Our Love To Admire to a top-3 chart position a couple of years back.

Compared to the slick, glacial sheen of Interpol's songs, however, these eleven offerings have the distinctly lo-fi, half-finished character of demos, despite the occasional caress of strings or the fanfaring trumpet that tries to lift "Unwind". The album opens with the heavy breakbeat-style drums, arpeggiating guitars and softly glowing organ of "Only If You Run", Banks claiming how he's "tasted degradation and found the lace and daylight", before a stilted guitar figure heralds the mantra-like "Fun That We Have". Sparse piano chords, high string whines and spoken-word samples collude in "Madrid Song", and there's a pleasing burst of raggedy Neil Young-ish guitar burning in "Fly As You Might"; but several songs suffer from poorly-wrought switches of momentum, most glaringly in "Unwind", which vacillates between forthright, fuzzchord-organ stomp and limpid lacunae of peace, abruptly derailing its progress just as it seems to be finding its groove. More intriguing than Interpol, just.

Download this: 'Fly As You Might', 'No Chance Survival', 'Only If You Run'