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Julian Plenti Is…Skyscraper

Aug. 9 2009, Published 6:38 a.m. ET

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Interpol frontman Paul Banks – or Mr. Helena Christensen – steps out on his own as Julian Plenti, his pre-Interpol alter-ego, and proves he’s worth his salt as a solo artist. There’s certainly a similarity to his band’s sound, but with less of that grand Joy Division-inspired doom and gloom, and more of a laid-back, fairly minimalist lo-fi vibe with acoustic guitars, and even strings, trumpets and spoken word samples. Vocally, Banks moves from haunting and affected to more earnest and singer-songwriter-y in the vein of Matthew Sweet, and lyrically he’s softer than usual as well. Unlike the more stark and cold lyrics of Interpol, as Julian Plenti, Banks delivers sweet lines like, “You know you’re my queen of hearts,” and even gets surprisingly humorous on Girl On The Sporting News with tongue-in-cheek lyrics like, “You’ve got the kind of sex appeal that doesn’t get a guy like me down.” Most unexpected though, might be the romantic gesture of simply titling the closing instrumental track “H,” presumably for his supermodel girlfriend. Aww…

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