mon 22/07/2024

Album: Plantoid - Terrapath | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Plantoid - Terrapath

Album: Plantoid - Terrapath

The surprise return of the nexus of prog-rock and jazz-rock fusion

Plantoid's 'Terrapath': multi-faceted

Terrapath is a prog-rock album with a large dash of jazz-rock fusion. When the styles were in their Seventies pomp, an album side could be occupied by one cut. Both sides might feature, at most, four, maybe five tracks. Yet Plantoid’s debut LP fits 10 tracks into its 39 minutes, three of which are under three minutes apiece.

This take on early Seventies archetypes, then, doesn’t cleave to a standard template. Nonetheless, songs sport shifts in time signatures, very Jan Akkerman-come-John McLaughlin guitar and jazzy drums. There is also fuzz guitar, a hard rock sensibility and a manic approach – head for second track “Pressure” as the exemplar of this. Which could mean that Plantoid are cousins of Muse. However, up to just-before its three-minute point “Modulator,” the next track, is very close to Dots and Loops-period Stereolab. There are also odd hints of Sweden’s Dungen. And then there is “Dog’s Life,” where a math rock chassis is teamed with a Sixties harmony pop-style vocal from Chloë Spence. The crisp, gentle “Only When I’m Thinking” sticks with this soft-rock approach.

The multi-faceted Plantoid are a Brighton-based quartet formed by Spence and Tom Coyne, who met while studying music at college in Lincoln. With drummer Louis Bradshaw they formed Mangö there and then moved to London, where they added bassist Bernardo Larisch. After relocating to Brighton, they changed their name to Plantoid (one digital-only EP was released as Mangö). Terrapath, their debut album, was mostly recorded live in the studio, with few overdubs.

As there is so much to the undoubtedly accomplished Terrapath, it’s impossible to simply sit back and let it pour forth without disassembling it. On stage, though, there wouldn’t be any chance to do so and, as a result, it feels as if Plantoid would have greater impact when seen live.


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