Plank! - Plank EP - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Plank! - Plank EP

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2010-04-26

At precisely which point did 70s Krautrockers Neu! become the must-have reference point du jour for UK alternative bands? Certainly, The Horrors helped to usher in this new age of turbo-charged motorik with their 'Sea Within a Sea' single, but even before that there was the Brand Neu! compilation, highlighting the debt of bands as diverse as Foals and, er, Oasis to the experimental German rockers.

Manchester's Plank! (check that exclamation mark) are the latest band to clamber aboard this autobahn-bound wagon. To be fair to them, it's only their debut EP's first track, 'La Luna', which goes all out with the motorik, featuring as it does the straight-ahead drumming and densely overlaid guitar and synth textures which were Neu!'s trademarks. If fact, 'La Luna' could happily find a place on any of Neu!'s three albums. Only the tightly rhythmic, punk-funk bass would mark it out as a cuckoo. Neu! didn't do bass.

Second track '1001 Nacht' swerves away from the Neu! sound to explore post-rock dynamics more in keeping with Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky. It's a good piece of music, well constructed, but with its endlessly repeated guitar figures and (yawn) quiet/loud dynamics it just highlights how difficult it is to make this kind of music consistently interesting.

Things get worse with the punningly titled 'Arse Nick' (hey, who says post-rockers don't have sense of humour?), which lurches all over the shop like a drunken teen in a branch of Yates' without actually finding any structure to hold on to. Mercifully, it's a short track.

We return to Neu! territory for the closing track, 'Phlaa', but this time Plank! are referencing the kind of cod-mystical, sepia-tinged mediation which was the stock-in-trade of every early-70s Krautrock band (excepting Kraftwerk). 'Phlaa' is also by the far the best track on the EP and, with its twinkling, spiraling synth melodies, it hopefully points the way for Plank! towards the forging of a more original sound palette.

Richard Morris

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