|©2002 Grooveyard Records
5. I'm Not An Animal
9. Take Five
10. Humble Colossus
11. Living Room Jam
12. Universal Walkabout
Plankton is a five-man old-style instrumental band from Sweden. Contrary to the hairy-studded-muffinman shred instrumental outfits that have cropped up around the globe since the heyday of waggawaggaweeweeweeeweeeeee guitar back in the striped-Spandex-pants 1980s, Plankton's idiom of choice is groovay old-style Strat-in-the-ol'-Marshall heavy-blooze-and-rawk-and-roll-and-funk-and-a-tad-of-jazz. Stylistic references for the attention-span-challenged would include Robin Trower, the Allman Brothers, Mountain, and even the Grateful Dead (save for the fact that these guys play in time and in tune and, more importantly, know when to stop playing and move on to the next song).
As is to be expected, wailing old-style solos abound, but the songs are clearly compositions, as opposed short heads and repetitive riffs thrown together into a fondue pot. The lead guitarists' interplay is a lot of fun to observe, as they weave in and out of harmonized melodies and riffs to do their thang for a spell. The backing band is tighter than Neal Schon's 1976 jeans, and hammers out grooves thicker than Robert Plant's cameltoe ("Humble Colossus"). The lead playing is classic, i.e. not highly technical, but unlike many of the artists these folks grew up listening to, they know how to end a phrase on the beat with a note that makes sense and to eschew tired old clichés that should have died in 1969. The whole record sounds authentically vintage, complete with slightly distorted bass, classic Fender tones, and ample drums à la Bonham.
It takes a lot for me to enjoy this kind of music, because it is almost always as fresh as Jim Morrison's underwear after a 52-city tour of the midwest. Not so with Plankton, who just delivered a nifty collection of groovy instrumentals that are simply a hoot to listen to. This album is available directly from the label, Grooveyard Records.
Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier
Review date: 07/2002