The Planet The – Physical Angel

3 out of 5

Label: 54’40 or Fight!

Produced by: (?)

There were a handful of notable trends happening in indie rock during the mid 00s, amongst which we can count electro-pop (e.g. Radio 4, Rapture) and spazzy indie rock (e.g. Liars, Ex-Models).  Certainly there was a lot of crossover there – and this is, of course, excluding the rest of those handful of trends – but, as I just parenthetically RIYL’d, you could generally toss a band into one hat or the other.  And then sometimes you’d get groups like The Planet The, who didn’t really want to make up their mind and so just spent some time making tracks in one subgenre and some tracks in another.

I can definitely get how this comes across as a blast live.  Their debut album captures a certain one-take immediacy that’s damned energizing; it sort of convinces you that the music is makin’ your body move, even if you’re standing still.  But in practice, it’s all rather ephemeral, and that habit of splitting the difference seems to translate to a general mish-mash of sounds that never settle into fully felt songs.  A couple of spots on the album glow from sticking to more of a developed plan, or letting riffs ring out and evolve – Man Called Wife; Uno Violence – but more often than not it’s just a stewing pot of cool ideas.  If you like electro pop, you’ll like those songs; if you like spazzy indie rock, you’ll like those songs.  Physical Angel was enough to have me curious as to what TPT would do next – and to my recollection, their followup did a better job of employing focus – but this album is mostly just that: a reminder to stick around to hear the next song, but still just an opening band for a more impactful group.