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There’s a certain sense of ambition in naming your band after an entire celestial entity. You know it’s serious when a country, or a continent, isn’t quite big enough – and even the idea of ‘The World’ doesn’t quite encompass enough scope. When only the vast astrological body of a planet will do, and even then there’s something missing. Presumably, this is how Sydney band PLANET arrived at their majestic, capitalised moniker. They do say “go big or go home”.
With warm summery vibes and just the right amount of 90s nostalgia thrown in for good measure, getting caught up in the orbit of PLANET’s Northern Skyline is inevitable.
However, despite all the above, there is something fondly retro about the name which suggests cartoons from the 90’s. And whilst that might not be something that crops up in their music, PLANET are, similarly, much more fun and accessible than a Holst movement. With less Gustav and more guitar (also vocals, bass and drums), PLANET’s sound is a warm, hefty orchestration of a classic five piece band.
Continuing the stellar theme, PLANET appear to have coalesced certain elements to form their whole; describing themselves as “the remnants of a series of long-time musical collaborations and even longer friendships”. Taking influence from world encompassing genre’s and styles, echoes of Britpop, Rock and Electronica resound through the tracks that they have shared so far over the last few months.
Launching into 2016 with their third single release, Northern Skyline, this latest track sees the band subtly refining and deepening their sound. Initially pinning their music as “relaxed and chilled but infused with high-octane energy and an unmistakable attitude”, Northern Skyline really hits the sweet spot under that definition. With paced, steady rhythms and an unhurried vocal line, the track feels more deliberate and less hurried than earlier efforts. Carried by the tight drum beat and a bright guitar line that propels everything forward, the remaining instrumentation is loosened up to really stretch out to more dreamy melodies and richer layering.
Recorded and engineered by the band themselves, vocalist Matty Took presided over a bedroom studio in Newtown to produce Northern Skyline. The track was then handed over to Lachlan Mitchell (Attic Studios, Jungle Studios) to be mixed. Talking about the recording process, Took told me that “We weren’t really going for a ‘sound’ in particular in regards to Northern Skyline due to a majority of the guitar tracks being laid down on the spot, but I feel like it gradually evolved into a ‘summery’ sounding tune.”
The summery feel is definitely apparent in the bright guitars and dream-tinged feel as PLANET embrace a slower pace. But the industrial sheen of Britpop is inescapable in the pensive edge on those melodies, also in the wall of sound that floods the choruses. Channelling the kind of golden indie that pays tribute to its rock roots, the depth of sound hits like a wave – every instrument revving up to deliver the energy and attitude promised. With Took’s gritted vocals riding the crest of that wave, there’s even something of US rockers The Goo Goo Dolls as the brights mix with angst.
Already tipped as ones to watch this year, PLANET have been spotlighted by the guardians of all things Brit, Fred Perry Subculture, and shortlisted for Channel [V]’s latest DISCO[V]ER artist. Currently concentrating on recording, the band have another song due for release in April, along with an accompanying clip. Plus plans for another single, which they are currently mixing and hope to get out this August or September. Though still relatively young as a band, PLANET’s gravitational pull seems to be ramping up as each new release aligns around them.
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