PLAIN RIDE – Skeleton Kites
Plain Ride is a strange fish. Minimalist blues rock with a folksy tip of the hat to dark Americana. Out front is scene veteran Janne Westerlund’s smoky rasp – one of the most distinctive in the field today. It works on your senses like a rusty file, but you like it. At times, the long tracks become mesmeric and repetitive while at other times they are starkly evocative, creating landscapes of beauty, loss and an almost mystical yearning. Sometimes the focus changes so that the melodies are simple, direct and right in front of your face, while at other times things feel more distant and work more subtly.
I usually avoid this genre, finding it too littered with self-conscious imitation, overused symbolism and trite cliché. All of these pitfalls are so comfortably avoided here that they don’t even enter the listener’s consideration. In this respect ‘Skeleton Kites’ feels like something new, like a language that uses some words that we know but not with the significance we attribute to them. Thematically, this feels like a new mythology. The fears and hopes are the same as those we have today, but linked to different imagery and arranged so that they have a simultaneous alien and familiar feel.
All of which is as special as it sounds.