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(45:38, Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. As Tears Go By 3:28 2. Hide 5:08 3. Never Needing 4:07 4. Broken Nights 6:15 5. Foolish Waking 3:47 6. Strange Gods 4:43 7. Every Strangerís Voice 4:10 8. Climb 3:49 9. The Good Man 4:59 10. It Could Be Home 5:12 LINEUP: Tim Bowness - vocals Brian Hulse - keyboards, synths, guitars, programming, vocals David K. Jones - bass, pedals with Michael Bearpark - guitars Steve Bingham - violin Peter Chilvers - keyboards Jacob Holm-Lupo - keyboards, programming, vocals
Prolusion. UK band PLENTY had their initial spell of activity back in the second half of the 1990's, but never really manage to establish themselves properly before activities stopped, mainly due to vocalist Bowness by then being active in No-Man. A couple of years back three of the core members from back then decided to revive Plenty, and this eventually lead to the band finally getting around to recording the material they made some 30 years back. "It Could Be Home" is their debut album, and was released through Norwegian label Karisma Records in 2018.
Analysis. Karisma Records have been one of the key labels in Norway as far as progressive rock is concerned, but it is still something of a surprise to see a band from the UK issuing their music on that label. Especially a band with such strong ties to popular bands in the genre, and with a key member being a popular solo artist in his own right to boot. On the other hand, I can understand why some of the more renowned prog labels might not have been enthusiastic about this venture, mainly because it doesn't have all that much to do with progressive rock as such. Plenty is a band that developed from bands that explored post punk and art rock respectively, but rather than being a pairing of those two styles Plenty is a project that hit out towards different landscapes, at least if the material on this album is representative for how they sounded a few decades ago. Inb my view at least, this is a band that primarily exists within the triangle of dream pop, new wave and post punk, with occasional dips into progressive rock oriented landscapes here and there. Most of the songs here are slow and dream-laden, with soft, delicate instrument details in support of the melancholic, bittersweet vocals of Bowness. Careful rhythms, floating keyboards and synths with a soft cosmic tinge to them are recurring features, and while I'm not all that familiar with music of this kind I did get some associations here and there. On a couple of occasions towards the likes of Erasure, at other times towards a-ha and even good, old Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Plenty doesn't have the drive of the former or the latter, but in some cases the ingredients sound familiar inside those contexts, and while they do not sound all that similar to a-ha either they do have that melancholic atmosphere that this Norwegian trio explored on occasion. Plenty has a tendency to coat everything in soft, floating keyboard textures though, adding a subtly cosmic and distinctly dream pop tinge to the proceedings due to that. Plenty is described as a precursor band to No-Man, and I guess this album kind of documents the foundation from which No-Man was built on top of to a certain degree. Personally I didn't find this album to be all that rewarding. A pleasant listen for sure, and a well made one at that. But I rarely engaged myself, other than in the two up tempo songs that does add in a few additional tidbits to increase and maintain tension in addition to the pace increase. Other than that, my impression is that this albums as a whole depends a lot on the vocals of Bowness to drag the listener in. As such, this production ultimately becomes one where the appeal to a larger extent is decided by the vocals, and not quite as much by the music itself.
Conclusion. Plenty is a band I guess fans of No-Man will desire to check out no matter what due to the personnel and historical ties, and much the same will be the case for those who love and treasure Bowness as a solo artist. Other than that, my suggested audience for this album would be those who know and love their dream pop and their 80's new wave, and then especially music of this kind that is described as dream-laden and melancholic.
Progmessor: June 27th, 2018
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