Jan 2023 01

Album CoverPloho
Album: Когда душа спит (When the Soul Sleeps)
Category: Post-Punk / Goth / Rock
Label: Artoffact Records
Release Date: 2022-11-04


Ploho had already been at the forefront of the Russian underground for some time before signing to Artoffact in 2020 – a move that served to significantly bolster the band’s international profile… and with good reason as the trio of Victor Uzhakov, Andrei Smorgonsky, and Igor Starshinov forge an especially frigid brand of gothic-tinged post-punk evocative of the band’s Siberian homeland. Когда душа спит (When the Soul Sleeps) marks Ploho’s seventh album in as many years, its nine tracks richly produced to transport listeners to the cold wastes of the Motherland, its varied but energetic rhythms beckoning you to remember your dance shoes to help stay warm.

Immediately striking from the onset of “Занавес” is Smorgonsky’s steely bass drenched in chorus, coupled with Starshinov’s nocturnal synths resonating like distant church bells; Uzhakov’s distinct baritone and chilled guitar arpeggios enter, and the stage is set for the remainder of the album. Tracks like “Магнитофон” and “Не будем прощаться” sure to spark memories of The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me with their upbeat tempos filled with chiming guitars and keyboard melodies, while the bouncing electro beats and shimmering synths of “Замыкание цепи” might be more reminiscent of Depeche Mode if not for the flute-like keyboard solo in the coda, one of the record’s most direct and satisfying moments. A brooding ambience permeates throughout, but is especially palpable on songs like “Если бы ты была морем” and “Иди и смотри” as the guitars resonate with phased and flanged effects, Uzhakov’s reserved drawl both inviting and disquieting – more akin to The Church or The Sisters of Mercy’s more reserved output. Interestingly, “Фантомные чувства” shares its title with Ploho’s previous album, and it is among this record’s more notable selections with its shifts in mood and tempo, from a Siberian chill and flow to a hotter, almost funkier chorus wrought with stabbing guitar chords.

Non-Russian speakers may have difficulty appreciating Ploho, but this matters little; music is a language unto itself, and the band’s familiar sound reaches across linguistic barriers quite easily to fit in with the current waves of post-punk revivalism. It may perhaps be too cold and dark for all but the most ardent genre enthusiast, but such is the stark beauty of the Siberian steppes. Put simply, Ploho’s Когда душа спит is indeed an exquisite production.
Track list:

  1. Занавес
  2. Если бы ты была морем
  3. Магнитофон
  4. Никогда не говори никогда
  5. Фантомные чувства
  6. Замыкание цепи
  7. Иди и смотри
  8. Не будем прощаться
  9. Ветер

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Artoffact Records
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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