Genre: Progressive Rock
Released: July 2018
Reviewed by: Benedict Roff-Marsh
Last week was Melbourne Oz and this week a mere 878.4km North to Sydney we find Plini who is essentially a one-man-band. But he uses a collection of sidemen for shows and recording.
Shows he has. In August (2018) as I write, Plini is playing one of two shows in Poland after leaving Slovakia & the Czech Republic. In Sept he actually plays The Zoo in Brisbland! Amazing that.
Oh and he plays a very pretty Strandberg guitar.
Ok yes I am breaking my no EPs rule again but this is such a great collection of tracks that it would be criminal to pass it by now that I have heard it.
The obvious comparison for most people would be to Joe Satriani. Satriani’s “Surfing With The Alien” is a pretty interesting record but it suffers greatly from a lack of musical soul, to be blunt it comes across as a bit of a wank because Joe can play fast and that is supposed to make a great record (and it would be if more tracks were like the great slow single “Always With Me, Always With You”). “Sunhead” shows a lot more depth of understanding on all tracks.
Plini has a flow & feel to his playing that is normally reserved for Jazz players and so denied to us Rock fans since the death of musicality in the early 90’s. This and last week’s Mildlife – “Phase” review suggest that we are at last allowing true soul back into our popular listening. Phew!
Yes, this is quite “technical” music but under that, there is such a lovely flow to the melodic story that it is a joy from the first listen. Genre-wise it is interesting because from moment to moment you could call Metal (I refuse to say djent as that is such a crock), Jazz, Modern Jazz, Easy Listening.
When I was in Melbourne the other week, my Uber driver back to the airport turned out to be a guitarist and we had quite the chat about music and the advantages of working together, how combining the skills & vision of several people creates something that none of those people would manage alone. I say this because Plini’s last album “Handmade Cities” is rather good but sounds flat compared to this newer EP. This time there are more players, a real Studio and a far greater depth that moves him from being a kid alone in a bedroom to a real force.
Criticism: I have none. Well maybe give us more tracks but the EP stands so well alone that it is not necessary.
Comparisons to things in my collection. Hmm tricky as I have nothing quite like this, but I’ll try. Joe Satriani “Surfing With The Alien” I spoke of before. Super technical but generally not deep like “Sunhead”. George Benson because he has such a lovely feel and Plini is showing that now. Camel because they also have that jumble of elements that make something effortlessly superb because they feel music so well.
If at first, you find Plini a bit complex, then perhaps let it play a time or two whilst doing something else so you can let the more detailed language seep in. Suddenly you will find that moments make perfect sense and you have moved up an Octave.