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Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper


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Biography

From 1998 to 2003, Julian Plenti performed in and around Manhattan as an acoustic solo artist. Venues that played host included Tobacco Road, Pete's Candy Store, The Knitting Factory, The Living Room, and "Lach's Antihoot" at Sidewalk Cafe.

In 2006 Plenti began to demo a selection of his music using Logic Pro, including some older acoustic songs ("Girl on the ... Read more in Amazon's Julian Plenti Store

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Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper + Banks + El Pintor
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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Aug. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador
  • ASIN: B002BSH26O
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,638 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Only If You Run 3:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Fun That We Have 3:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Skyscraper 3:19£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Games For Days 3:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Madrid Song 2:08£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. No Chance Survival 4:03£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Unwind 3:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Girl On The Sporting News 2:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. On The Esplanade 3:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Fly As You Might 3:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. H 2:38£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

Although in 1996 Interpol's Paul Banks kicked off his performing career in Manhattan clubs with an acoustic guitar, his alter ego Julian Plenti discovered Pro Logic a decade later and decided to compose on a fuller, richer scale. So Plenti is yet another idiosyncratic New Yorker digitally embracing punk's original DIY aesthetic the way millions of others have around the globe; with Cubase and Garageband.

But what marks !Skyscraper out from the rest of the pleb-with-a-Mac crowd is the bold combination of seemingly incompatible genres our man throws together and the manner in which they work. Banks surely felt the same perverse satisfaction making this record as the first Hawaiian pizza chef felt when they placed ham with pineapple.

Fun That We Have began life as an acoustic number but appears here as QOTSA desert-rock doom crossed with Battles odd-pop: analogue bleeps and martial drums. Meanwhile Only If You Run is Weezer-flavoured superior college rock, but with chiming, mellifluous background noises more redolent of Brooklyn's Chairlift.

Both are better than the unintentionally hilarious Games For Days. You'd expect a song featuring Interpol's Sam Fogarino on drums to contain ominous guitar riffage. But why is Plenti singing like Jack Black doing an Ozzy Osbourne impression? Madrid Song also suffers from inappropriate blending of sounds. Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie singing is great, but does not make a killer bedfellow with drab piano.

But the Bowie fixation does blossom brightly on Fly As You Might, as shades of Beckenham's favourite son meld with Pink Floyd guitar heroics and Pixies wailing.

There are many more fine and bizarre moments on !Skyscraper, like the mysterious twanging guitar melodies on Girl On The Sporting News or the Jeffrey Lewis-via-James Blunt charm of No Chance Survival.

However, strange combinations can baffle and upset the weak of stomach and !Skyscraper is sure to test sensitive ears the same way. --Lou Thomas

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Jenkins on 9 Feb. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Interpol's last album, Our Love To Admire, felt like a something of a tipping point for the band. Fewer of the obviously 'Interpol sounding' tracks excited me, while the more experimental, expansive canvases of Pioneer to the Falls and The Lighthouse yielded much more bracing results. So it's encouraging to hear Banks (or Plenti) experimenting as much as he does on ...Is Skyscraper, formulating Interpol's template of post punk doom in all sorts of new ways. The rub, of course, is that some of these experiments are bound to be more sucessful than others.

The album begins with chiming Only If You Run. Stately, elegant and surprisingly hopeful, it's a fine start. This is followed by Fun That We Have, which lurches (rather awkwardly, it has to be said) between driving guitars and a creepy keyboard line. It sort of works, but does sound a lot like two song ideas stuck together.

Skyscraper is the first song that sounds like a complete departure from Interpol. With minimal vocals, it's built on a framework of twinned piano and acoustic guitars and led by strings and eventual percussion. It builds momentum effectively, but still feels somewhat minor, almost like an interlude. Something similar could be said of closing almost-instumental H and the powerful hymnal Madrid Song, (featuring The Wire's Snoop!). They work well on their own terms, but lend an album of little over 35 mins a slightness.

At the heart of the album are the counterpointed No Chance Survival and On The Esplanade, chilly existential meditations as folk songs, one about surrendering to chaos, one advocating self preservation. The tension between these ideas is captured eloquently in the music, with a gradual push and pull evolving between the guitars and strings.
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gannon on 13 Aug. 2009
Format: Audio CD
It would be madness to assume any review of this album would fail to mention Interpol, as Julian Plenti is Paul Banks, their relatively innocuous frontman. An immediate distance is declared in producing a solo album under a pseudonym, though purists and fanatics need not fear too greatly, for that distance is hardly a gulf.

The two openers whiff identifiably of Our Love to Admire, a record that it could be argued Banks, I mean Plenti, has superceded. Whilst I feel Interpol's collective awkwardness dripped audibly from tracks like `Mammoth', Banks here seems freer in his isolation. That said, the considered plod of `Only If You Run' could nestle comfortably, in a good way, on that nevertheless ill-fated record. Nowhere is the atmospheric Turn on the Bright Lights brought to mind. Similarly, the noir party of Antics seems a long way off. Those hoping for a retread of either album may be disappointed.

It is where Plenti deviates that we get results. The interlude-like qualities and crying strings of `Skyscraper' are a melancholic and satisfying aside later reprised in the similarly short `Madrid Song'. Here, the confidence to eschew an obvious, historic template proves worthwhile. The catalogue-congruous acoustic plucking of `On The Esplanade' is definitely an idea worth taking to Dengler and Fogarino, as is the track's spoken vocal sample and the gentle vocal distortion of album closer `H'.

As can be expected however, it is not all good news.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rik H on 23 Oct. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Near the end of the film 'Twelve' I heard the song 'Only If You Run' and I thought it was fantastic. Purely due to that song I bought the album. It takes a few play throughs (Like all good albums) but it has some great tunes in the mix. I really recommend giving this album a try if your after something a little different. Personally I prefer this to any of the Interpol cds I've heard. The cd reminds me of Tom Mcrae in a lot of ways who I also love. To give this cd 1 star suggests to me the user never gave it a chance....
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Locci on 20 Sept. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
boring to impossible highs, low quality,I wonder whath is left of the interpol band that used to make great songs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 25 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Interpol Part 2 4 Aug. 2009
By Greg Kinne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Pseudonyms and side groups are some of the signs that a musician has made it and can release off shoots without damaging their main brand. Paul Banks of Interpol is the latest to cash in on the phenomena in the moodier guise of Julian Plenti. On "Julian Plenti. Is...Skyscraper" Banks fleshes out songs that had been growing moldy in his archives. What's surprising is that the songs that had been previously left for dead are infinitesimally more interesting than Interpol's last studio album "Our Love To Admire." Freed from the constraints and expectations of that band (brand), Banks cuts loose on an album that holds its own among the highlights of Interpol's career.

"Julian Plenti Is...Skyscraper" is not much a departure in sound or scope from Bank's somber songwriting skills that were first demonstrated on "Turn On The Bright Lights." The feeling of dread and despair is evident on most of these tracks as Banks can effectively portray himself as just another lost soul struggling to make it in these dire times. "Only If You Run" offers a solution in the form of drug-induced escapism that some might find palpable depending on the circumstance. On the other hand, "Fun That We Have" follows as the hangover heavy reality that there is no escape from the continuing monotony and daily malaise.

The strings and sampled accents of "Skyscraper" are a nice touch that doesn't detract from the underlying delicate acoustic guitar work. The most Interpol-like song amongst this lot is the fragmented and brooding "Games For Days." "Games For Days" features a great vocal and an overtly searing guitar that has been somewhat absent on this album. "Madrid Song" breaks the album into side 1 and 2 and feels a bit like filler. After that it seems like the album falters and it's not until the unhealthy yearning of "Girl on the Sporting News" where it recovers. Things get a bit angsty and experimental on the angular "Fly As You Might" which acts as the closing song on "Julian Plenti Is...Skyscraper." After "Fly As You Might" ends, song "H" appears as nothing more than a piano led filler which might symbolize the curtains finally closing on "Julian Plenti." Overall, "Julian Plenti Is...Skyscraper" is an interesting affair that provides new life to these old songs.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Suprise! 6 Sept. 2009
By Paul Ramone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wow! Paul really pulls it off here. After being put in the position where everybody said Paul was an Ian Curtis rip off and so was Interpol( they sound more like the Chameleons with that guitar interplay anyway ), They are their own band and have their own sound. In Julian Plenti's "Skyscraper" you can hear that Paul has his own style and sense of experimentation. It was the perfect time for it too. If you listen to "C'Mere" on Antics you can tell that Paul was going to do something on his own. The album sounds perfect from start to finish. Track 3, "Skyscraper" is simple in lyrics but has a ton of depth to it. You get one part soft and ambient and one part pop mixed on the album. All in all, Paul is great as Julian Plenti. Like Bowie and all of his alternate egos, Julian just may dissapear. But who knows? Maybe another my pop up. He has alot of talent obviously. The album is well worth the listen and if you can forget "Interpol" while you listen, you can hear the man as himself. Thats the hard part and the trick. Don't mix the two together.Wonderful poet and fantastic musician. There is a long career ahead of Paul(Julian). A*
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Interpol this isn't 13 Aug. 2009
By Simon Whittle - Published on Amazon.com
For anyone that may claim this is the "missing" Interpol album or other such things I have to disagree. Maybe these songs were thrown out by the band to record, but, the sound of the album is a distinct departure from what's gone before.

Lyrically it's still melancholic but the music provides a great backdrop for the vocals. The use of acoustic guitars and strings gets well away from the heavy bass lines and effects of Interpol's work.

With its own distinct sound and personality the album is a resounding first release for a talented vocalist that so many already know and love. I'm looking forward to the live dates that are promised.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Incredible 7 Feb. 2011
By WillGro - Published on Amazon.com
Julian Plenti is amazing, dark and layered, well produced and well executed. I hope Interpol stops touring for a while so we can see more Julian solo. I went to see him play live and really enjoyed it. I loved this album and you will too if you enjoy the vocals and writing of Julian Plenti.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The album of the year 23 Aug. 2009
By Bertrand Portier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Sorry for all the Arctic Monkeys, Dylan, Ben Harper, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Doherty, White Lies, Scott Matthews, but Plenty gave us, until now, the best album of the year. And "No Chance Survival" is a piece of the art. Qu'on se le dise.
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