plök – Infolympics

There is no telling what direction this band will go in next, but it is bound to produce engaging results....
plök : Infolympics
8.2 Target

plök : Infolympicsplök has released two albums and several EPs over the last decade.  These releases have consistently grown more focused over time.  This focus should be seen primarily as a stylistic shift, not as maturation.  The frenetic nature of plök’s early work was willfully crafted, as evidenced by their complex composition and instrumental chops.  Criticizing early plök for a lack of focus would be missing the point, much as it would be to criticize Mr. Bungle of the same.  The bass and drums were the core of the songs, with guitar and other instrumentation largely providing texture during quieter moments and emphasis when things got heavy, somewhat akin to Primus (QRO spotlight on) in terms of the roles of instruments.  The vocals were similarly disjointed, falling somewhere in between mewithoutYou’s half-yelled spoken word and Daughters’ post-Canada Songs cacophony, although considerably more tuneful than the latter.

The first plök album, Sing Us Yr Guillotine Gospel, started to have more cohesion between all instruments than their EPs did, and their newest album, Infolympics, is a big step forward in this trend.  There is also a significant drop in aggression, on par with that seen in And So I Watch You From Afar’s newest release, All Hail Bright Futures.  That combined with the absence of the manic genre shifts found in plök’s early work results in a lack of the kind of disorienting stew that has characterized their sound.  Instead, there is a unified sound and several downright radio-friendly songs here, “Digital Gatsby” being chief among them.  This is still complex music; radio-friendly in the way that some of Battles’ more streamlined songs are.

In fact, there are similarities between Infolympics and Battles’ distinct timbre as plök often coaxes jittery robotic sounds out of mostly organic instrumentation.  This robotic feel is accentuated by the metallically distorted vocals.  This sound probably works better on Infolympics than the more organic range of vocals used in previous plök releases would, although it might be more effective if used selectively instead of throughout.  plök has continuously evolved, maintaining their heady complexity even as they have grown more approachable.  There is no telling what direction this band will go in next, but it is bound to produce engaging results.

plök – Digital Gatsby

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