P L S
Alternative / Pop
‘Bjork and Radiohead ride push-bikes on an airstrip. Massive Attack circle overhead. PJ Harvey sings from the thunderclouds.’
Planet Love Sound is an independent alternative pop band founded in Melbourne, Australia, and currently residing in Berlin, Germany. Here the band is self-producing its debut album, expected out in 2011.
The PLS sound is a blend of a “programmed beats, synthesised bass-lines, acoustic guitars, and layered vocals”, and the band cite Portishead, Fever Ray and Tom Waits as important influences. Combining electronic elements with more organic ‘dark folk’ influences, they write, record and engineer all music from their home studios in Berlin and Melbourne.
‘On The Run’ is an apt introduction to the band. Bowed guitars and ominous ambience lend the song a post-rock intensity, whilst the combination of pulsating electronia, driving bass, and chanted vocals provide pace and vigour. From there, ‘Thirsty’, with it’s hip-hop influenced beat and interlaced vocal arrangement, is a danceable follow-up. ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ is an impressionistic piece designed to highlight impermanence and change. Written during late night jam sessions during the long Berlin winter, this song pairs perfectly with current band favourite, ‘Middle Of Nowhere’.
With intricately plucked acoustic guitars, marching foot stomps and group claps, this song delicately poises human elements next to synthesisers, programming, and a constant, pounding rhythm. The synergy between the energy of the group and the alienation of the synthetic elements builds tension, ultimately released in the final chorus.
So where did it all begin? Vocalist Tina Stefanou and bassist Joe Franklin met at music school in the early 2000s. The two immediately bonded over Bjork, Beck and The Beatles. Then, in 2005, Joe was invited to join the Australian band Dukes Of Windsor by his soon-to-be bandmate and guitarist, Oscar Dawson.
In 2008, the Dukes found themselves in the icy north of Sweden, recording their second album. There, Joe and Oscar met Magnus Lindberg, producer and drummer with Swedish post-metal band, Cult of Luna. After being dazed and electrified by a Cult of Luna live show, Joe took the opportunity to ask Magnus to join Planet Love Sound as a mixer and engineer. Falling in love with the home-made demos, Magnus now mixes all PLS tracks from his home studio in Stockholm.
The band’s logo, a combination of the three primary shapes (a Triangle, a Circle and a Square) was designed by Sydney-based director and designer Murray Bell. The band uses the logo as a reference point for simplicity, as well as a reinforcement of Joe, Tina and Oscar's individual roles in the band. They - like the Circle, Square and Triangle - are simple and unique, yet somehow linked and ever reliant on one another.
Planet Love Sound's logo also reminds the band, and their audiences, of the link between graphics, visuals and music. The band conceives of a future that downloads not only sound, but also video, and therefore, they aim to release each song with a visual feature. The band also collaborates extensively with visual artists across Europe and Australia. Whether by performing at the Berlin gallery exhibition opening for Puerto Rican artist and filmmaker Osvaldo Budet, creating musical accompaniments to video art installations for the International design conference Semi-Permanent, or by writing short pieces to publicise social causes, the band explore the ever-important links between graphics, video and music.
Free pre-release downloads from the debut PLS album are available from their website, www.planetlovesound.com. The band will head to Australia in late 2010 to play a run of shows, before heading back to Europe for the remainder of 2011.