Friday, July 17, 2009

Julian Plenti is Skyscraper

Creating an alter ego is scary business. You can either become an infamous rock legend like Bowie's Ziggy Stardust (not to ignore Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, also just a tad bit successful) or you can cause an unanimous "WTF" reaction from the entire North American continent like Chris Gaines.

So when I heard about Interpol's Paul Banks releasing a solo album under the new persona Julian Plenti, my immediate thought was "this is going to be really cool, or just really suck." Banks has apparently had this persona laying around for a while, using it even before Interpol. Some of the songs on the solo album were apparently written as long as 10 years ago.

Turn On the Bright Lights is one of my favorite albums. I think it is flawless from front to back, and I'm not the only one who shares that opinion. By Interpol's last album, Our Love to Admire, I felt worn out on them. I felt like it wasn't that the band wasn't experimenting enough, but that they weren't experimenting at all. The band and the sound wasn't growing, and had grown stale.

All that said, you can understand my expectations for this Julian Plenti thing. I really wanted something different, not necessarily better by leaps and bounds. This album definitely delivers something different (though some tracks you could argue otherwise). There are some cool songs, including "Skyscraper," and Bank (sorry, Plenti) knows what he does best vocally. I have a feeling he's going to get some critical hazing (I'm betting a 6.1 on Pitchfork) but I wouldn't let that deter you from judging for yourself. I really like it.