Plini – Sunhead E.P.
I first started listening to Plini in 2015, right around the time of the release of his 3rd EP “The End of Everything“. And I was immediately struck with the impression that this man is incredibly talented. Halfway through his 20’s he has already released one full-length album, four EP’s and several singles, and worked with numerous talented and well-known people in the prog scene, such as Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats), Jakub Zytecki (Disperse) and Chris Letchford (Scale the Summit). He is known not only for his technical ability, but also his skills as a composer, and a guitar virtuoso that adapts different styles and genres into his music. And that continues on his fourth EP, “Sunhead“. Plini stated about it that he went into it “with the goal to make a very big, small EP – aiming to put as much detail and refinement into the composition and playing as possible.” And man, did he hit the mark.
“Sunhead” is fantastic. It consists of 4 songs, ranging from 4 to 6 minutes . Each one of them brings something that the others don’t. It’s Plini’s way of channelling his passions of travelling, eating and making music. “The ‘Sunhead’ EP is a musical expression of the pure excitement that comes with travelling to new places, meeting new people and eating new things,” he says.
The first track, ‘Kind‘, starts off with an intro riff that sets the tone for the rest, and here you can already hear hints of the mixing genres that this EP contains, with a sort of jazzy vibe to the riff. I’m hit with the feeling that it’s going to be heavy, but melodic in Plini’s signature fashion. And once it kicks off around the 00:32 mark, that is exactly what happens. It has a slower part in the middle before again erupting into a soaring guitar part, with a synth kicking in to further enrich the sound, again very recognizable for those who have heard his earlier work. But, fan as I am of his style, this track is my favourite for that very reason.
The beginning of track two, ‘Salt + Charcoal‘, starts in sort of the same way. Quiet section in the beginning, before getting into a heavier part with a very Plini-esque guitar solo. Here, the synth starts going earlier; again making a very rich sound that persists throughout the whole song, with a few slightly slower moments in between which are also accompanied by vocal harmonies in the background, done by Devesh Dayal of Skyharbor. Drummer Chris Allison occasionally does some intense drum work on this track, adding to the heaviness, and with a quite distinct bass drum sound during the slower parts.
It is on the third track ‘Flâneur’ that the genre mixing is taken even further. It starts off slow, and the jazz influences are very apparent. It gives a relaxed, jazzy vibe, before a heavy rhythm guitar part kicks in. But still, somehow, it doesn’t quite let go of the jazz vibe. Especially not when the synth solo, played by guest musician Anomalie, kicks in next, and the heavy guitar goes away. This is further followed by a saxophone solo by John Waugh. Plini steps back into the picture, the sax and guitar complementing each other excellently. The song ends with a relaxed jazz club-y part where piano, sax and bass are central. This song is perhaps the best example of the impressions he stated touring and new acquaintances have had on his music.
Fourth and final (and title) track ‘Sunhead’ sounds more familiar to fans of his earlier work. In this song it’s all about the guitar again. Starting off slow, with a quite recognizable Plini-riff, erupting into a heavy guitar part with a second guitar harmonizing nicely with the synth. A prolonged slower section follows, with the intro riff coming back, and proceeds into a laid back bass solo by Simon Grove that nicely complements the surrounding sound. Towards the end, the intro riff comes back in a heavier form, with synth work in the background providing a feeling of epicness. Solid ending to the EP.
All in all, this might just be my new favourite release by the Aussie. From the clear mixing of styles, even going into a fusion jazz club sort of vibe, the soaring guitar work, the signature Plini-solos. It has everything. I find it an incredibly interesting listen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these tracks end up becoming fan favourites live.
Plini will tour through Europe and the UK in November and early December, joining Between the Buried and Me in supporting TesseracT on their “Sonder” tour. Be sure to catch them! I know I will.
- Salt + Charcoal