Julian Plenti is Interpol vocalist Paul Banks’ alter ego. Released in August of 2009, Julian Plenti is… Skyscraper gave Banks the chance to smash his own individual sonic piggy bank and as it turns out, it was chock-full of valuable silver dollars of sound. This was one of my 10 favorite discs of ’09. Hence the review I suppose.
From the start, Julian Plenti is… Skyscraper reminds you of Interpol, but it has its own signature feel. It’s not quite as driving as most Interpol is. This is not a complaint. The solemn mood of tracks like “No Chance Survival” and “Skyscraper” is actually welcome and pleasing to the ears. Banks strikes a happy medium here. Falling somewhere between beautiful (“Madrid Song”) and head-bangin’ awesome (“Games for Days”), this album is an all-around, rip-roarin’ good time. Really. The only thing is sometimes it is a little too contrasted song to song, often times leaping from one extreme to another.
Banks takes advantage of some orchestral arrangements and genuinely pretty acoustic guitar picking on this disc. It’s great to hear his unique, raspy vocals take on a new identity on these brooding tracks, yet it still has that “Yeah, you don’t know what I’m all about, and you probably never will.” kind of sound that Interpol boasts. It’s a creepy kind of pretty. I wish there were more artists aiming for that type of sound. I think there’s more beauty in the creepy unknown than people realize. I’m pretty sure Banks gets that too.