Plank! demand your time and patience, that you drop your expectations and just watch and listen to how events unfold. The Manchester trio seem out of place and time. They luxuriate in chasing down themes and phrases in exactly the way Rush or King Crimson did, but there’s something refreshingly clean and ballsy about them; the playing is clipped, minimised, and chiseled. They clearly have the musical chops to cut it with the likes of Three Trapped Tigers, but they prefer the mid pace Neu! type groove more than frenzied fret frottage. And whilst all the songs are instrumental, Plank! are not a band where the arrangements leave a gap where the vocals could be. The melodies intertwine lugubriously, sketching Reichian arcs over sizzling hotwired backbeats.
So to the content. Moolicks moves from anthemic stomping, collapsing inwards, to soft noodling. Self Harm is based around a compulsive 5/4 loop that moves into a bizarre Battles tribute for a minute. Plank! seem to love the effect of the contours in dynamics. It’s an unusual experience to hear the kind of dynamic control and space you are used to in electronica reproduced in a group of real time musicians. Alpha Dog chatters softly whilst synths sweep through their phase shifts.
One thinks that their generation perhaps came of age during the heyday of dance music, so the sonic signatures of Orbital or 808 State can be sensed within these far more rocky creations. As La Luna builds to a crescendo, notching up through the gears via rich arpeggiations and unflinching motifs, you understand that Plank! have arrived with a singular attitude that is at odds with their reference-heavy peers.
So, it’s definitely not an immediate album. Animalism gently pervades your consciousness on repeated listens. Live with it a while, and you too might start thinking they could be this generation’s Goblin.