By Contributor – Michael Cueto
(In the interest of full disclosure, I mastered this album)
The title of The Planet You’s new album I Too (Me Also) is a playful experiment with the complexities of language which is mirrored, from start to finish, by the instrumentation and songwriting found within the album. Like the playful title suggests, the instrumentation and songwriting are anything but amorphous; They are instead tools that lay out foundations that gradually transform into masterful representations of themselves.
Starting with the tense opener “Roses Are Subjective,” the band brings forth a simple and lonely guitar line before the rhythm section joins in with a mid-tempo drive that meanders for a few measures until the one minute mark. Sudden and chaotic jazz fusion ensues; the guitar and bass follow the drum patterns note for note until those patterns abruptly end. All sound dissipates while layers upon layers of guitar loops stack on top of one another and crescendo into singer and bassist Pete Diamantis’ cascading vocals.
Diamantis, whose singing is thankfully not as nasally or untrained as that of other math rock vocalists, belts out contemplative and anguished lyrical ambiguities that come about at the most appropriate and satisfying moments throughout eight out of the ten songs on I Too (Me Also). There is a subtle touch of reverb on most of the vocals that transforms cryptic lyrics such as “A barrier is breached/When we feel the peaks/Of our own physique./People are new/You are a few/Meters behind their laces/Scenic traces,” into esoteric inner monologues, while the accompanying music acts as a fitting soundtrack to the intimate workings of a feverishly complex mind.
The Planet You easily stand out among their contemporary math rock and experimental jazz peers. Their technicality and virtuosity don’t hinder their songwriting, but instead enhance it. Many of the songs on the album begin with a brooding and pensive moodiness that one might expect to follow the standard post rock formula: build and explode, or, conversely, come out of the gate as fast as possible and either slow down or keep the same punk rock momentum moving. The Planet You refuse to provide the satisfaction (or disappointment).
I Too (Me Also) is paced very well for an album that has so much musical variety. “If Time Is Circular, I’ll Be Forever” integrates latin melodies and dub rhythms with chaotic and complex phrases. “Always the Gentleman” carries the listener through a variety of clean, bouncy sections while introspective lyrics float over the top of bass (which impressively never stops moving across the entirety of the fretboard) and ethereal guitar reverb. “Ice Artisans,” starts off with delicately played jazz chords and quickly picks up tempo and a flurry of nonstop guitar and bass notes before slowing down again, only to build even more tempo while Pete comments on the self-loathing that accompanies overthinking: “The confines of our chat / Have formulated me / To conclude that I am harboring / An amount worth receiving./From space that hangs high.”
The Planet You are masters of subtle dynamic shifts, and each song is a testament to that. While there is a familiar feeling that runs throughout each song there are no recycled melodies or formulas to be found. Each song is its own unique adventure that deserves a complete play through.
The Planet You will be releasing an EP of completely new material toward the end of 2017.
Listen to I Too (Me Also) by The Planet You below: