Plastic Yellow Band’s latest work, Above Gravity, was released in November 2015 and includes a 21-minute musical journey dedicated to those who have lost someone. This “new classic rock” album blends aspects of modern piano-led music à la Coldplay with older rock elements, particularly from the 1960s and 1970s and progressive rock.
There are also clear psychedelic rock hints throughout the set. Based in Aiken (South Carolina), the band’s members fluctuate, with a core made up by Gerald Jennings (composer, lyricist, vocals, guitar, keyboards), Joe Hurt (bass), Karl Derrick Tesch (drums), and Joe Smith (guitar).
The album opens up with a track that could have (and maybe should have) made up an EP of its own. “Starlight” seems to be an act in several numbers which are repetitive while at the same time fluctuating at each turn. These numbers include a pretty raw and emotional electric guitar solo. The song played at times a little like an homage to Queen, albeit without the same tightness the band was known for. Each iteration seems to be focused on different aspects of the cycle of grief: joy at good memories, anger because of the loss, denial, and confusion. It makes for a lengthy but interesting listen, one that would suit well a coffee shop ambiance.
The piano-driven, mid-tempo “America (Mother of Exiles)” kicks off the next eight tracks, all of which clock in at under five minutes each. The vocals and the melodies seem to be having fun teasing each other here, almost flirting at times. The progressive rock “You Lied To Me” has a grandiose feel to it because of the organ that accompanies the guitar and drum-led melody. Jennings’ voice suits this type of melody much better than the one making up “Heaven Can Wait”, a funky, blues-imbibed, guitar-led track in which hints of R&B and punk rock float by.
“When I Rock” seems to be another homage of sorts, this time to early rock and roll. The guitar solo is attention-grabbing but unfortunately yet again, Jennings’ vocals don’t seem to quite fit the track. The progressive “Promises” is slightly lethargic and invites listeners to zone out to its beat. If you do, it won’t be for long, as the energetic drumming in “Pain” will wake you right back up. Above Gravity finishes off with “Dressed in Her Lace” which is built on a melody much more delicate and bordering on nostalgic than the rest of the album.
Plastic Yellow Band’s latest offering comes off a little oddly if listened to in one go; but when it’s 21-minute work is separated from the rest, it makes for an interesting listen that will appeal to fans of more classic sounding rock. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about the band and their projects is available on both their official website and their Facebook page.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.
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