Monday, 14 December 2020

Plini "Impulse Voices" (2020)

As one to keep an eye on, news of another Plini record could only bring joy. Over the years this Australian guitarist has steadily brewed an exceptional sound of serine, beautified Progressive Metal. Embellished by dazzlingly colorful instruments its both aesthetically indulgent as it is musically deep. Impulse Voices, his sophomore record, follows up on the highly praised Handmade Cities of four years ago. I've relished in the anticipation of this one as Plini's philosophy is about taking time to cultivate the best of his creativity for our pleasure. With eight tracks just shy of forty minutes, its a rich experience that I've steadily grown to know and love. Each spin yields a new insights as one picks apart its many elements, while growing to love these songs. Its easy to enjoy from the offset but providing a lasting magic.
Not to dissimilar from what we have become accustom too, the fruits from a labor of love blossom again with every moment feeling cared over. Dazzling melodic guitars swoon, cruising on soft winds with sweetly elasticated grooves rustling up from below to add a moments energy to this warm and inviting music. The instruments are colorful and bright, an unending expression gushing forth from the lead guitar that sings its glory over much of the music. Subtle synths chime too, swaying with the breezy motion, swelling with the tides of change, adding unusual aesthetic persuasions in places, see the rave synth rise and fall on Perfume towards its conclusion.

In its opening half everything feels just right. Papelillo delivers a wonderful swell of heaviness at its ending. The current of djenty groove lurks and prowls throughout the song but its climax lunges into a remarkably dark yet approachable conclusion that glosses up the gritty metallic techniques of old. Its in the second half that something notable emerges. Unsurprisingly yet possibly a link I've overlooked on previous records, a strong Jazz Fusion vibe opens in a handful of moments, the guitars get stripped away, the keys take lead, expressing dexterous melodies with a bolder tone giving it a notable contrast to the usual array of subtlety playing with volume and intensity.

A saxophone solo on Pan further embellishes this Jazz link, a lovely, fitting climatic moment exchanged against one of the record best guitar solos. However in those less seamless keyboard switches it seems the cohesion is dialed down a touch. Experiments toying with space and syncopated silences towards the end of Ona / 1154 carries a little friction too. These are hardly blemishes though, Impulse Voices is an indulgence from an artist in their stride. Stunning music, beautifully produced with drummer Chris Allison seeming like a perfect fit to bring as much magically intrigue to the percussion as Plini does to these scenic songs of melodic fondness. Simply wonderful.

 Rating: 9/10