Paul Banks – Julian Plenti Lives

The Extended Play format (aka EP) is a largely a curiosity item. It can be a way for an artist to get songs out there that didn’t fit into the current album they are promoting. It can also be a way for an artist to get songs out there that aren’t up to the same quality as the songs that made the album. A skeptical viewpoint would be – more product in the marketplace, more money for the artist. Personally, I love the EP when it is done right – a few songs by an artist of high quality, whetting my appetite for a forthcoming album (or acting as a coda to an already released album.

Album covers are mostly a lost form in these days of digital downloads. Sure, a few hip bands release their records on actual vinyl but the artwork in most cases seems to be just blown up from the CD format. In some cases it is even just random imagery without a lot of thought given to it (I am told that the act of randomness can also be an art form).

Interpol came into existence with the wave of post-punk bands in the early 00’s (or is that post-post punk, I wonder). I have always enjoyed their records though none have hit me quite on an emotional level like their debut Turn on the Bright Lights. In mid 2009 lead singer Paul Banks released his first solo record, Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper. I have to be honest – I enjoyed that gem of a record more than anything Interpol had released since their debut (though I mostly love everything Interpol has done).  When I read that Paul Banks was releasing an EP this summer I looked forward to the day that I could finally listen to the new tunes. So…how does it hold up?

The new release from Interpol singer Paul Banks is an amazing 5 song EP with an album cover that conveys the emotions contained within.

I’m a Fool for Summertime…(highlights)

Opener Perimeter Activated is a cover of music from the movie The Running Man. It effectively sets the tone for the record – emotional and experimental without being over the top. A perfect opener and somewhat of a departure from the sound Paul Banks is known for in Interpol.

Summertime is Coming sounds like a…uh…anthem for Summertime. I suppose if the perfect summertime anthem features emotional singing, a funeral vibe with an undercurrent of hopefulness, that is. This track sounds the most like Interpol which is not a bad thing. Acoustic guitar before the band kicks in with a mid tempo rock song. This is the most straightforward song on the EP with a haunting and deeply affecting chorus that explodes with Paul Banks singing his heart out. A true post punk summertime anthem for 2012. Stunning. Key lyrics:

Summertime is calling for you child (yeah, yeah)
To give you a sense of reliance to feel at
Home in a crowd (yeah, yeah)
The season the season is calling calling
And all of it breathes into one day

I’m a Fool to Want You I never really thought about what the singer from Interpol would sound like covering Frank Sinatra. There just didn’t seem to be any sort of correlation at all. The song starts out playing it straight, sounding like the original…before an electronic beat comes in and Banks sings smoothly over top of everything. This shouldn’t work, but it not only works – it is perfectly executed. The vocals are so emotional, it will send chills up your spine. I love how Banks slyly sings these lyrics:

I’m a fool to hold you
Such a fool to hold you
To seek a kiss, not mine alone
To share a kiss that devil has known

If this is the quality of the music that we can expect on the forthcoming full length, I can hardly stand the wait. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, this is a high quality release that tugs at the listeners emotional core. This EP is available via Merge in a few different formats here

Verdict: Only a fool wouldn’t love this

For fans of: Joy Division, Interpol, Editors, The Cure


1. Perimeter Deactivated
2. Summertime Is Coming
3. Mythsysizer
4. I’m A Fool To Want You
5. Cavern Worship

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