ARTIST: The Black Planes

RELEASE: This Is The Black Planes

RELEASE DATE: 2nd August 2018

RECORD COMPANY: Lucky Orange Records

Seattle-based trio ‘The Black Planes’ pull their impressive sound from a multitude of varying sonic influences. Droning modern psych, krautrock styled rhythms, late 80’s Manchester vibes and sullen new wave experimentations are carefully pick-pocketed and reimagined into one huge cyclonic wave with plenty here for everyone to get their teeth into. Their massive debut full length entitled ‘This Is The Black Planes’ carries a whopping twelve tracks was recorded over a ten-month period with the mixing and mastering completed by local legend Chris Hanzsek (producer of Soundgarden; Melvins and many others), co-founder of Reciprocal Recordings alongside Jack Endino. The band are made up of former Friction Pitch singer and guitarist Dan Gallagher; Brent Cajka on synthesisers and Jeff Gall on drums and the album was officially released back on the 2nd August 2018. ‘This Is The Black Planes’ was released on all major streaming platforms and is available to buy/download on various formats via

Fizzing lines of synth intertwined with the pull of undulating bass frequencies and that almost kraut like percussive swagger announces ‘Cyclosonic Sister’, the opening salvo on this monolithic release. Modern psychgaze melded perfectly with a kind of 70’s sounding prog/kraut shimmer and a subtle injection of rock n’ roll comes to mind as those hypnotic tambourine shakes bring hovering lines of vocal into view washed diligently with swathes of swirling reverb. Individually the instrumentation stacks perfectly, each piece slotting into place inside a whirring wave of noise, forming cohesive sonic progressions that cling to those meandering lines of synth with relative ease. A wonderful opening track indeed. Up next, ‘Too Radar Love’ bounces into audible range strapped to a repetitive beat and the jangle of guitars. Explosive instrumentation allows a clearer vocal to take shape, steeped in melody and riding a line of humming bass frequencies. There are catchy chord changes here too that build brilliantly and lift the chorus out of a deep repetitive rut but it’s the final two minutes of hypnotic instrumentation that really catches the ear.

‘Hush Hush’ chugs into the sonic ether on a brilliant bass line and skittish drum a pattern as The Dead Planes unfurl some post-punk credentials and those lines of synth ooze confidence. Subtle lines of lead guitar rise and fall just outside the mix adding atmosphere as the chorus breaks and a distinctly 80’s hue permeates the ether. It’s a good track, lifted at times by catchy vocal melodies underpinned with solid sonic structures. ‘Stone In Love’, the albums lead single, is a catchy little ear worm that will stay with you well after the first listen. Again, the band meld krautrock sensibilities with a brilliant modern psych twist here, using a majestic vocal as the lead assault with swirling instrumentation hovering in a tight orbit and that addictive percussive tempo holding court. It’s a triumph and a definite album highlight. ‘Get Some Honey’ deploys some mid-west coolness with a sharp injection of 80’s Manchester chic to create it’s melody driven sound whilst ‘Charity’ has a great little garage psych vibe that is extremely overpowering. ‘Love My Way’ doesn’t do it for me at all unfortunately and goes all Arctic Monkeys in places sounding more like an album filler than anything else forcing me to scratch my head until ‘5 Billion A.D’ arrives twinkling on lines of synth and electronic percussion with it’s T-Rex sounding vocal and bouncing bass notes that again feel completely out of place and screams album filler rather than anything substantial. Up next, ‘Where Is My Mind’ rocks on a repetitive guitar progression, a meandering bass line and atmospheric stabs of synth. It’s layered vocals sound fantastic alongside those intertwining lines of lead guitar that seem pull everything together brilliantly.

‘It’s Easier Than You Think’ is filled with passages of melody, catchy hook laden chord structures and a mix match of sonic influences. Angry bass frequencies are carried here by a steady metronomic tempo and those stabs of guitar add an extra bite to proceedings as the vocals lament in a Pavement kind of way. The albums penultimate piece leans more into alternative rock than anything else. ‘Take It Higher’ has a meandering bass line that undulates and moves brilliantly in and out of another safe drum beat as chorus progressions lift and the vocal hangs in a cloud of reverberation. The album closes out with ‘Not Like A Monday’, an atmospheric piece held in place by a brilliant guitar progression and another impressive vocal performance. All in all it’s a solid ending to a good album.

‘This Is The Black Planes’ has the potential to be absolutely bloody immense. It begins brilliantly, charging through passages of psych rock, krautrock and alternative leanings with relative ease, presenting a fantastic opening section that on any other day could hold itself up on it’s own merit as a really great release. Midway through this twelve track opus however it does get a little lost with repetition taking over and a multitude of different influences overpowering the bands collective identity. They lose their way a little bit only to find it again towards the albums closing tracks. That’s not to say that the album doesn’t work, it does but at different stages throughout, failing to connect the dots properly and cohesively. And at a full twelve tracks in length it’s a long slog with pockets of overpowering repetitiveness & structural sonic brilliance in equal measure. However, there are some fantastic individual tracks here that deserve some serious praise and both the song structuring and production/mastering are faultless.




Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last six years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, postpunk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  – Primal Radio –  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting genres of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.