Point Line Plane
Point Line Planes’ debut album contained a song called “8-Bit Graveyard,” which was filled with the sound of outdated synths battling it out, keys bared with bloodlust. It sounded like it belonged in the old NES game Castlevania. In my review of the album, I was impressed enough to write that I was eagerly awaiting the updated 16-bit version of the band. Smoke Signals is just that; they’ve added another synth player and refined their sound into something cleaner, more intricate and restrained. These improvements come at the expense of the previously unhinged, cannibalistic (lack of) songwriting. There are pluses and minuses, of course. Whereas the blender riffs occasionally neared unbearable before, many of the tracks here barely rise above the fury of an egg beater. On the other hand, the newfound sense of melody is definitely an overall improvement, and allows the band to craft shadowy mood pieces that rival GSL no-wave claustrophobes The Chromatics.
The group has found an enjoyable middle ground between the chaos and control with Smoke Signals, though it’s skewed a little more towards traditional than I would like them to be at this point in their career. I’m still confident that the noise-crazed Hyde side of the Point Line Plane can revive their pixilated sound at any moment. It’s only just a couple notches on the volume knob away.
Skin Graft: www.skingraftrecords.com