Julian Plenti [aka Paul Banks] / Julian Plenti….Is Skyscraper


Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper

Julian Plenti is… Skyscraper is the first solo album released by Paul Banks, the lead singer for the band Interpol, under the name Julian Plenti. It was released on August 4, 2009.[1]

The music video for “Games for Days” was directed by Javier Aguilera and features Emily Haines from Metric.

The Analysis:

Only If You Run—-Beginning with a dark and atmospheric overtone, the bass line is less pronounced but the track is bolstered nicely by the drum track. Bank has a magical melody in his vocal delivery…singing at a higher than normal tone…allowing him more emotion and expression. This is wonderfully layered with some nice vocal overlays …I like this much better than the material Interpol has been releasing…this is magical!!

Fun That We Have—-With a staccato guitar delivery and a relaxed vocal from banks, the song slowly comes alive with a nice groove that is full of slight dance rhythms. I like the fact that banks needs to prove that he has more range than his predictable Interpol delivery…this is a much more pleasant and expressive range and the result is fantastic. This has a nice synth line but never lacks in real instrumentation. sometimes the lyrics are a bit inane, but the sentiment remains. This is great!

Skyscraper—-Wow…..beginning with a really nice gentle acoustic guitar, this song also offers up some really nice strings that add to the depth and atmosphere of the song. The guitar strums come a bit quicker and there are some nice effects that filter through the backdrop as the voice slowly emerges from the darkness. This is wonderful…complicated and damn pleasant. This serves as a nice reminder that Banks is much more than a vocalist, but a great musician as well. The vocal finally emerges in full…settling in the comfortable baritone range that Banks so richly delivers…this is pleasant and full of atmosphere…..freakin’ fantastic!

Games For Days—-This is much more representative of Bank’s home band Interpol. The music is dark and heavy…sometimes so dense that the headphones almost block out parts of it. The guitar is huge though…floowed closely by a nice drum track and some lyrics that make you rub your chin and ponder. This is just wonderful.

Madrid Song—-This begins with a deep piano base that is solemn and dark…laden with a dark imagery that Banks conveys with huge masterful lyrics. The strings that accompany the song leave you with an unsettled lonely feel and the backdrop soundbites make you a bit uncomfortable. This is dark yet somehow bright and full of hope underneath it all. A true study of opposites, I love this record!!!

No Chance Survival—-Again, fantastic guitar ushers in the vocal. The voice is in its most comfortable range yet at times rises in range to convey the emotion that is necessary. this is steeped in intensity and a sadness that leaves you a bit unsettled. I could never ask for more from this man….he delivers line after line of words that dig in your soul and make your emotion realize how lonely you really are. This is quality stuff.

Unwind—-Delivering a much more electric and upbeat track, this arrives just in time to dig you from the doldrums of the past few songs. There are some remarkable horns on this track…whether they are real of synth produced, it gives the song a much brighter feel. The vocal is fantastic…as driving and upbeat as the music itself. The quality of this release is amazing to me..why did I wait so long to get this……jeez..I’m slow!

Girl On The Sporting News—-Returning to a darker feel, there is a nice marching beat to this track that really appeals to me. Banks sings to the girl of his dream as he fills his lyrical imagery with a magical sound landscape. I’m not really sure what this is all about, but it has a melody that is fantastic and strings that produce a longing, lonely feel that this day has called for. This is just wonderful.

On The Esplanade—-Beginning with an almost Spanish style acoustic guitar, Banks is in an upper register that conveys the breezier feel of the song. this is darkly rich in lyric and delivery. I am almost at a loss for words as he peppers the song with nice backdrop soundbites that remind me of some of Morrissey’s finer moments. This is wonderful.

Fly As You Might—-With a nice jaunty musical delivery, Banks delivers a vocal that is also a bit static and delivered with intricate complicated pauses and starts at the drop of a dime. The music begins to grow and swirl around you…delivering an atmospheric feel that is wonderfully dark yet remarkably bright at the same time. This is art rock…delivered masterfully well.

H—-With a piano intro that sets the sad and lonely tone, this is slow to develop but as sounds are added the song takes on more and more shape. The synth line that runs underneath the entire thing is aided by even more subtle soundbites from one source or another. This is dark and rich..layered with sound after sound as the song unfolds. This is a favorite of mine…a perfect atmospheric way to end a really great release.

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

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