Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Plank "Hive Mind" (Acoustic Anarchy)

Around the time of their debut album "Animalism" the trio Plank lost original drummer Johnny Winbolt-Lewis who now concentrates on Douga. Liam Stewart, who many regulars at the best Manchester gigs will recognise from such bands as Nasdaq, FTSE 100 and most recently Seatoller took over, bringing a heavier style. Whilst "Animalism" had a lot of instrumentals named after animals, "Hive Mind" is a concept album about insects and the trials they face in their existation. Prime Planker Dave Rowe, who plays both guitar and keyboards, has added more overt prog licks to his Neu-ish muse, however the band they share most ground with these days is Trans Am, which makes it appropriate that they should be supporting them when they play Ruby Lounge on November 10th. The single "Aphidelity" comes on like a cross between Pink Floyd's "On the Run" and Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and "Dark Web" throws up some ominous King Crimson heavy riffs that dramatise the peril of a fly in a spider's parlour. "Swarm Behaviour" likewise alternates a skittery calmness with a great big riff, evoking an influx of bees. Perhaps the most telling song title is "Metamorphosis" as this is what Plank themselves have done, brought on by their change of drummer. The track in question is festooned in a synth strings and a light click-clacking rhythm with a positive atmosphere, and a sample of a Slinty American voice is buried deep in the mix. "Mothlover" has a similarly upbeat beauty and features another American talking about moths, ending questioningly before "Drone" drones in. "Waterboatman" sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a close up film of a waterboatman surfacing tension. The last two tracks "Cricket" and "Khepri" segue seamlessly, and together form the highlight of another fine Plank album, climaxing with a triumphant ascending guitar solo. They play an album launch gig at the Klondyke on Burnage Range in Levenshulme on June 27th.

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