Artist: Plastic Yellow Band
Album: Above Gravity
Label: ISI Music
Release Date: 11/30/2015
Gerald Jennings’s new project, Plastic Yellow Band, is a remix of sorts of the classic rock sounds from the ’60s and ’70s that inspired him and countless others. Even the title takes a cue from John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band. On his new album, Above Gravity, Jennings tips his hat to Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Lennon and more, merging modern sounding prog-rock with vintage style riffs and song structures.
With Jennings serving as the songwriter, lead singer and producer on the album, some of the tracks feel very singer/songwriter in style, like “Promises,” where Jennings’s vocals mirror the Killers’ Brandon Flowers. Some of these prove to be a little too sleepy when paired next to the album’s stronger components. Acoustic guitars aside, it’s the prog influences that really help the record shine. With an emphasis on varied tempos and multi-track production, it’s the searing guitars on “Heaven Can Wait” and the alive-and-amplified tone of “When I Rock” that take Gravity to a higher plane.
The true standout, however, is “Starlight” – a 21-minute Pink Floydian epic that undulates from a quiet, soul-baring piano ballad to a classic rocker, elevated by some killer keys (also played by Jennings) that would even impress Floyd’s own Richard Wright. The loud-quiet-loud pulsations are attune to the energies found on Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” “Starlight” may be a lot to take in for some listeners, but for those patient enough, it’s highly rewarding and by a long shot, the best Above Gravity has to offer.
For fans of any of the classic acts mentioned here, Above Gravity is a worthy product from a protégé who’s making older sounds sound new again.