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Friday, January 27, 2017

Plankeye -- The One and Only


Man, I'm out of gas after those last two reviews. Let's be brief with this one.
Plankeye's Commonwealth is a classic album,  which sold a ton of copies, but a certain segment of the band's fanbase didn't appreciate its more somber tone. Plankeye responded to those fans with The One and Only, a lighter, sunnier album, featuring a more upbeat sound.
The One and Only's first half is brilliantly done, energetic rock. The opener, "Someday," shows the songwriting growth found on Commonwealth was not a fluke, with its opening harmonica line forever searing itself into the listener's memory. "How Much I Don't Know" features a bridge instrumental that blink-182 subsequently ripped off in essentially every song they recorded between 1997-2001 (and I say this as someone who likes blink-182). "Playground" shifts and changes a surprising amount of times before its excellent, gong-aided climax, and all in 2.5 minutes.
At the end of its first half, The One and Only, is easily staking its claim as both the best and the most fun and entertaining album Plankeye ever released. Then the sixth track, "One or the Other," a sluggish ballad, grinds things to a halt. Commonwealth's slower songs, and even this album's third track, "Fall Down," proved that a gentler Plankeye song can still keep the momentum going. "One or the Other" doesn't. It's five minutes of the air going out of the room.
While the next four tracks try to get things...back on track, they aren't quite to the level of the opening salvo. So in the end, The One and Only is a good, fun album, but it doesn't quite achieve the greatness its first half promises.
After The One and Only, Plankeye splintered, yet did not end. You can see a tension here between the band's "pop-punk" side, and its more indie, alternative stylings (recording three albums in three years probably didn't help the stress!). The "pop-punk" side, singer/guitarist, Scott Silletta formed a short-lived new band in that style called Fanmail (while the drummer left to pursue ministry). Guitarist, Eric Balmer, and bassist, Louis Garcia, continued on under the Plankeye name, and recorded two more full-length albums. The first, Relocation, features "Goodbye," perhaps the band's biggest hit, though the album itself didn't really do much for me, and I've never purchased it. The second, though...I'll get to that.

1997 BEC
1. Someday 2:31
2. How Much I Don't Know 3:19
3. Fall Down 3:11
4. Playground 2:36
5. It's Been So Very Long 2:59
6. One or the Other 5:09
7. Landmarks 2:40
8. Let's Try Again Tomorrow 3:31
9. Compromise 3:15
10. Sterling (runtime includes silence and hidden track) 16:52

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