Plini
Handmade Cities


4.0
excellent

Review

by ramon. CONTRIBUTOR (48 Reviews)
August 27th, 2016 | 153 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Zeal and ardour.

Plini is seemingly the benchmark for successful "bedroom musicians" these days, whether one loves it or not. The Aussie's appeal to independent youngsters with a passion for creativity, as well as older crowds seeking the technicality of guitar greats but the accessibility of modern rock means his nimble fingers are the subject of many debates regarding the sound of up-and-comers. The man's knack for detailed soundscapes and dynamic writing is pushed to the max with this album; this is undoubtedly the best work Plini has ever put to CD. An instrumental, progressive release to rule them all for 2016, Handmade Cities presents Plini at his most energetic. This passion wears a little thin towards the middle of the album, but some brilliantly exciting performances surrounding it push excellence to the forefront.

"Electric Sunrise" and "Cascade" bookend this record, and rightfully so. The former acts as an indicator of what is to come, introducing the tone of the record. It is a vibrant start; "Electric Sunrise" is wildly dynamic. Bouncing from heavy, progressive grooves, to jazzier interludes, to massive walls of sound and soaring leads, the song encapsulates everything the album to come throws out. The title track draws heavily from the main chorus and initial progressive grooves, and "Inhale" pulls almost entirely from the mellower jazz side. "Cascade" looks back at Plini's prior work, and almost acts as an ode to roots. It is without a doubt the most disjointed song on the record, but its implementation of everything that has built up until the formation of this record gives it a remarkably familiar tone. Frantic builds, angular riffing, rapid transitions, and stop-start drumming all equate to a youthful force only seen in the opening track.

This zeal and ardour within these tracks doesn't quite translate well into the middle of the album, however. "Every Piece Matters" attempts to walk the sombre line, and while it does prove to be just as addictive as the other songs featured here, it hardly stands against the likes of "Inhale" and "Cascade". It persistently feels as if it wants to build, but never does. The same can be said about what I had hoped would be the album highlight, "Pastures". It is a brilliant track, but Plini's immediate and active writing style doesn't translate well to a seven minute song. However, as a showcase of the talents presented across this record, it still holds some merit. Fellow Australian drummer Troy Wright lays down an absurdly precise performance all throughout the record, throwing in interesting fills and multi-layered syncopation around like it is no one's business. His performance peaks with "Cascade", though he tends to follow songs a little too closely, and is rarely given spotlight attention. Simon Grove's bass work however, is given plenty, part in partial due to a large presence in the mix. His solos are wonderfully implemented, and he follows the rhythm guitar with ample lenience.

There is something refreshing about seeing an artist solidify their sound. While his EPs are instantly identifiable, Plini has set a standard both for himself and for aspiring solo musicians pursuing ingenuity. The pairing of the addictive with the complex is expert in execution, without compromising trademark vigour. Handmade Cities manages to bring joyful technicality to a multitude of contexts with catchy melodies and fretboard aerobics, while still retaining solid structuring and dynamic compositions. There is no genre-bending abstract nonsense, no needlessly drop-tuned low-fret chugging. Just really accessible prog written by a man who never undermines a good time.



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user ratings (286)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


3063 Comments


Really good debut. Reps the east coast hard. Been spinning it non-stop for the past week or so, still finding things to love about it. Might try my hand at learning a couple of the tracks if I am feeling particularly masochistic. Hope y'all are having a good day and all that

https://plini.bandcamp.com/

Scoot
August 27th 2016


19312 Comments


gorgeous stuff

this guy is crazy talented

bloc
August 27th 2016


55882 Comments


Should be a pretty sounding album, but I think this guy is overrated

Digging: Paris - Sleeping with the Enemy

TheMrAlexK
August 27th 2016


10969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thought this wasn't dropping for another couple of weeks.

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


3063 Comments


Wouldn't say overrated, as much as overhyped.

I had no idea it was dropping at all until very recently.

BenThatsMyJamin
August 27th 2016


2520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Had hoped the album would be longer tbh, waited ages for this



That being said it is gorgeous just as expected

GreyShadow
August 27th 2016


3124 Comments


Great review. I really enjoyed Every Piece Matters and found it's main melody to be one of the album's highlights. I think it builds in a subtle way that works very well but that's just my opinion. I'll be jamming this all week. I'd call his music really beautiful stuff without it necessarily trying to be. He seems to just have an ear for good tunes and an overall strong writing ability. Coming from someone who likes the genre but doesn't really listen to it consistently, this is really up my alley for how accessible it is.

Digging: Thank You Scientist - Terraformer

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


16142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Should be a pretty sounding album, but I think this guy is overrated [2]



Calc
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


16142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

love the album art though

bgillesp
August 27th 2016


6981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I thought Every Piece Matters was actually one of the stronger tracks. Good review though.

BurnedBlack606
August 27th 2016


513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Awesome review. Inhale is absolutely incredible, probably my favorite track he's ever done.

YakNips
August 27th 2016


19762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not huge on this kinda stuff like i used to be but this is still pretty damn sweet

Digging: Fire! Orchestra - Arrival

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


16142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this sounds a lot like chimp spanner's take on duhjent

BenThatsMyJamin
August 27th 2016


2520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah for me Every Piece Matters is one of the highlights

zaruyache
August 27th 2016


21014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this came out like a day ago holy crap

Digging: Imha Tarikat - Kara Ihlas

Flugmorph
August 27th 2016


21061 Comments


i dig modern instrumental prog metal like animals as leaders or cloudkicker.
and this sounds right up my alley.

Madbutcher3
August 27th 2016


2323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i wish he stopped with the boring modern instrumental prog metal stuff and went back to his poppier jazz stuff tbh



still much better than the last album and his ability to write catchy leads helps a lot

YakNips
August 27th 2016


19762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is definitely of that vein and is not crap like a lot of stuff floating around bandcamp. check it u won't be disappointed

Madbutcher3
August 27th 2016


2323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Every Piece Matters sounds more like his older stuff so it's my favourite here

BenThatsMyJamin
August 27th 2016


2520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah Every Piece Matters rly shows off his ability, not in terms of speed but in how textured his playing is



That's the area in which he really shines imo



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