DFA Record is perhaps best know as the home for LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, and The Juan Maclean. When a label features so many heavy hitters in one genre (in this case dance), it is hard to imagine them releasing any other type of music. Planningtorock has the unenviable task of being some of that “other type of music” that DFA releases.
Planningtorock is the psuedonym for Janine Rostron, an experimental singer/songwriter who previously has collaborated with The Knife. Collaborating with the Knife should give you some idea of the type of weirdness to expect from W, her second album as Planningtorock.
Rostron has an androgynous voice. It reminds me of Antony Hegarty. Sometimes her voice is low and lacks any femininity; other times it has a little softer quality associated with female vocalists.
Take for instance album opener, “Doorway.” The track starts off with a string sound similar to the opening the Dropkick Murphy‘s “Shipping Up to Boston.” This builds the anticipation for the vocals to start. Once the vocals do begin, it only draws question marks. The vocals are slow and sound slurred, almost as if they are being chopped and screwed. The lyrics are almost incomprehensible but the mood of the song is clearly a menacing one.
The album does not get any easier to figure out from there. “The Breaks” feature drums befit for the Chariots of Fire soundtrack with some barritone sax laid over it. The vocals are a little easier to digest on the track however, with a bit of a Karen O feel to them.
Those two tracks are probably the best on the album and neither of them left me feeling satisfied. As a whole, W feels a little too artsy. While it might be good for its genre, it feels like more trouble than it is worth to try to understand it.
MP3: Planningtorock “The Breaks”
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