PLANKTON WAVES - Cloud Caravan / We Are (Single)

Plankton Waves - Cloud Caravan / We Are (Single)

4 songs
17:34 minutes
***** ***
(self released)


In late 2010, Plankton Waves released their first EP Unduriel. And while reception was very favourable, the influence of their previously band Minipli was still overpowering. In November their first longplayer is scheduled to be released, and until then, we get a foretaste of what to expect later this year. Gone are the guitars! The duo nowadays relies entirely on synthesizers on beat machines to make the musical backdrop for their charismatic vocals.

The single’s first track is Cloud Caravan, a rendition of the poem Wolkenkarawane by Jewish-German expressionist poet Jakob van Hoddis, who was killed in a concentration camp by the Nazis. This strange song does have a very expressionist feeling and works very well for the theatrical antics of Plankton Waves. The following We Are is an unashamed tribute to Eighties synth pop, with cheesy choir chords and sugarcoated arpeggios. This would be the death of any other band, but Plankton Waves manage to make this a success.

The single ends with two remixes. Liquidbass’ Bass To The Bone remix adds a heavy bass line which gives Cloud Caravan an even more threatening atmosphere, although the schizophrenia of the original feels now a little diluted. Maximillion does a disco remix of We Are, which is a safe bet as his punching beats make this track even more club compatible, although I would have preferred that he would have gone quicker to the point. The first minute doesn’t really do much for me.

The question that begs to be asked is if it is a good thing for Plankton Waves to have got rid of the guitars. Although I come from a rock background myself, I always had the impression that sticking too much to what they did in the past, they were running the risk of manoeuvring themselves into a dead end street. With their new toolset of only synthesizers and beat machines, we seem to be in the presence of a new and improved Plankton Waves. If they are able to uphold this high level of quality and diversity on their upcoming album, we will be really in for quite a treat!

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