Plank! were first introduced to me as ‘kraut-mathrock’. And that’s a pretty good summation for the dark rhythmic instrumentals produced by this Manchester-based three-piece. The band comprises of Dave Rowe (Guitar/Keyboard) , Ed Troup (Bass), Jonny Winbolt-Lewis (Drums) and their eponymous and debut EP has just been released on Akoustik Anarkhy. Now I’ve a huge soft-spot for the Manchester club night-cum-label but at first glance Plank! seem out of step with their label mates. Rather than appealing but shambolic lo-fi, Plank! deliver glistening, well-drilled motorik rhythms. The Guardian Guide – not usually the most reliable reviewer of singles – described lead track 'La Luna' as “think Fugazi crossed with Slint crossed with Stereolab crossed with awesome”. And boy they are not wrong.
Not all tracks on this EP have the same surging euphoria as ‘La Luna’ but there’s still plenty to admire: the tense, pulsing guitars on '1001 Nacht' or the sinister, prowling swing and wheezing melodica of 'Arse Nick'. Final track 'Phlaa' dispenses with the motorik rhythms to set up a North African vibe through soft wordless wailing behind shimmering cymbals and rippling guitars. Somehow intense and languid, it’s the perfect soundtrack for a flickering desert heat-haze.
On record Plank! pitch their hypnotic instrumentals somewhere between drifting post-rock and full-on sonic assault – instead they are more about control and tension. And those compelling rhythms. Having missed some of their recent support slots (Fujiya & Miyagi, The Phantom Band, Crystal Antlers and Oneida), I'm looking forward to seeing how this translates live. Their next confirmed shows are Green Man Festival in August and Fell Foot Sound in Cumbria in September.
Plank! EP [BUY]