Gerald Jennings has released a new, full-length CD titled Above Gravity under his classic rock project, Plastic Yellow Band. The title is inspired by John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, and the music is influenced by the Beatles and other classic rock icons as well as modern acts like Coldplay. The record is meant to be a fusion of modern and classic, but the delivery is messy. Because of this, the listener is lost in a stream of music that just doesn’t resonate or leave the desired impact despite beautiful melodies and songwriting.
Above Gravity starts out with “Starlight,” a 21 minute track that is meant to be “a musical journey dedicated to all who have lost someone they deeply loved.” Starting an album out with a song this intense is just the first mistake. Every album itself is a story or journey, and should be started out with a song that eases the listener into whatever story that the artist is trying to tell. To start an album out with this deeply intense song, with so many melodies that it gives you whiplash, doesn’t give the listener any time to prepare themselves for that journey you want to take them on. As a result, instead of being taken on a deep and emotional journey, you lose them before they even get a chance to arrive at the station.
However, its awkward placement on the album doesn’t change that “Starlight” is a deep song, with intricate melodies and beautiful instrumentals. It’s a song that you have to work up and prepare for, so you can actually on the journey with the artist. Had “Starlight” been placed on a different part of the album, it might have left a different first impression.
The album is full with beautiful songwriting, melodies, instrumentals that don’t quite hit the mark. The influences are obvious, and you can tell that the artist was trying to go for a classic, psychedelic rock feel where the music feels like it’s on a different plane of existence. But Above Gravity misses that mark. Or maybe it does exist on that separate plane, but it forgets to take the listener with it.
Never the less, the talent and heart that went into this album can’t be ignored. Just encouraged. With more crafting of the Plastic Yellow Band’s sound and feel, the artist might be able to make the next album connect with their listeners more than Above Gravity did.