There is no Planet B. The anxiety inherent in that observation pervades the uniquely angular, experimental electronic music that the project of the same name presents on their new self titled record, out this November 23 on Ipecac Recordings.
The project features longtime ambitious hardcore vocalist Justin Pearson (of bands like The Locust) and hip-hop producer Luke Henshaw, and each collaborator brings a uniquely purified and direct voice to the table. Musically speaking, it feels as though Pearson and Henshaw have pared previous offerings down, delivering a “message” that gets right to the point in their newest work.
Pearson’s vocal work, for instance, remains antsy and ultimately energetic throughout all of Planet B, but a significant difference compared to his other projects is that it’s not accompanied by sonically overwhelming music. A listener can take in the singer’s presentation almost all on its own, which lends to the project’s overall unique nature.
Henshaw’s beats are similarly direct and to the point. Planet B feels as though he’s worked on isolating the most no-frills melody imaginable that proves perfectly poised to weave its way into even the casual listener’s mind.
Overall, each element feels remarkably tied to the other — and to be sure, it’s not just Henshaw’s electronics and Pearson’s driving hardcore vocal work. The pair welcome collaborators like rapper Kool Keith, prolific industrial drumming “godfather” Martin Atkins, and guitarist Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Ultimately, their work feels genre-less.
Each contribution fits into the band’s overall welcome but unnerving presentation. Rather than relying solely on the sounds themselves to make the final picture for the listener, the band pushes those taking in their music in new directions out into the “real world,” forcing them to confront both a brooding emotional doom and the blatant sociopolitical turmoil we’re all too familiar with these days.
Setting themselves apart from other artists taking on similar subject matter, Planet B zero in on the emotion at play for that much more of a lasting impact. Rather than presenting just something to think about, the band play music to feel as well, letting their work prove just inescapable.
Listen to the project below.