Julian Plenti - Is Skyscraper (****)
album review for the skinny
The press sheet for Is Skyscraper notes that mysterious singer-songwriter Julian Plenti took a sabbatical between 2001 and 2006, but doesn't explain why. Actually, it was because he was busy being Paul Banks, moody Interpol singer and unintentionally funny lyricist responsible for such classic face-smacking lines as “She says brief things, her love’s a pony, my love's subliminal", and "the subway, she is a porno". He's grown a moustache too; are we sure this isn't actually Brandon Flowers? Thankfully, no such lyrical duds intrude on Is Skyscraper, an ambitious and accomplished record that uses unsettling string arrangements and snippets of film dialogue and found sound as often as guitar riffs or heavy drums. Third song Skyscraper is more like a classical mood suite than a rock song, Madrid Song is clearly inspired by Boards of Canada, and On The Esplanade's finger-picked bed is overwhelmed by a array of dramatic string sweeps.