‘Pick Sick (Remix) / Self Harm’ (VAN228 aA2w54)
Mastered by George Atkins
aA Recordings & Static Caravan
“Think Fugazi crossed with Slint crossed with Stereolab crossed with awesome.” – Guardian Guide
Pick Sick (Remix)
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PLANK!, made up of guitarist and synth player Dave Rowe, bassist Edward Troup and drummer, Jonathan Winbolt-Lewis, are either unaware or simply unconcerned about the shifting fads of their geographical contemporaries. Refreshingly separate from their surroundings, they instead focus on an electronically expressive sound borne out of a respect to the likes of 70s Krautrock pioneers Neu!, Cluster and Harmonia, alongside more wilfully expansive prog and post-rock leanings. The three-piece’s exact origins aren’t entirely clear; they surfaced without warning in 2010, playing a string of disarmingly accomplished support slots for the likes of Fujiya & Miyagi, The Phantom Band, Crystal Antlers, Zombie Zombie and Sleepy Sun. Before going on to release a critically lauded self-titled EP – a record that also caught the attention of Scottish behemoths Mogwai and championed heavily by DJ Marc Riley.
In 2011 the group look set to cement their sudden emergence with double A-side ‘Self Harm / Pig Sick (Remix)’, a split release on leading independent lights aA Recordings (Akoustik Anarkhy) and Static Caravan on limited run (hand numbered) of coloured vinyl. Time spent in the live circuit’s glaring exposure has proved fruitful; both ‘Self Harm’ and ‘Pig Sick (Remix)’ convey a newly found free-form energy that encompasses an abundance of fresh ideas. ‘Self Harm’ bristles with a rugged math-rock intensity, confidently flitting between atmosphere-altering structures without ever fully leaving its stoic motorik; it’s indicative of PLANK!’s experimental side and willingness to incorporate a plethora of different elements within the studio. Says Winbolt-Lewis:
“We’ll always be open-minded about how we go about recording. Recently, we’ve either jammed and recorded ideas, creating a structure we’re happy with by consistent playing of the song, or we’ve recorded parts and structured them into a track, and then gone to rehearse the song.”
‘Pig Sick (Remix)’ is more ponderous in its stop-start nature. A track that constantly surprises, it pushes and nudges the senses on a whim, never letting the mind rest. The song was actually remixed by the band themselves after Rowe discovered a sound of real “mad resonant frequency” when threading a mic up the studio chimney and adding more effects and layers to it, eschewing the original recording that they had planned.
Like the songs themselves the band often cut elusive figures, what does ring through though is a tight cohesion between the three, as Ed Troup comments:
“Keeping an open mind, putting the music first and respecting others’ tastes is key. The three of us wouldn’t be able to make music together if this wasn’t the case.”
Away from the spotlight, PLANK! have organically cultivated and concentrated their disparate ideas. With these now packed solidly as a unit on this new release, they look set to fully rise up from Manchester’s urban undergrowth – a powerful presence that will turn the heads of even the most introspective souls.