Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spotlight: Planet Earth

Originally Appears in Issue 3

Planet Earth is big name to bestow on a band, but according to their laid back frontman Sam Lewis, there really wasn’t a whole lot to it. “When I decided to take writing songs seriously I thought I couldn’t play under my own name, which is too boring,” says Lewis, the group’s chief singer/songwriter. “The Planet Earth series was just starting on TV and me James and Nick, who now both play in the band, really loved it. So it seemed to make sense.”

The BBC series was the most expensive nature-documentary ever commissioned. It’s scale and size though doesn’t mirror Planet Earth’s sound. Tracks like ‘Goodbye Song’ and ‘Love Scientists’ (both available as free downloads through their myspace) are stripped of all fuss, recalling memories of antifolk, with strong country influences and even a hint of jazz. “I really love the old jazz love songs like ‘I Remember You’ or ‘My Funny Valentine’,” says Lewis. “Both of those songs have a wonderful construction, that seems really effortless but also very well crafted. I wanted to try and write a song like that. Whether or not I succeeded is another matter!”

But is this indicative of the band’s future output? “It’s not to be honest,” says Lewis. “[‘Goodbye Song’ and ‘Love Scientists’] were both simple love songs that I liked, but didn’t really fit in anywhere with other stuff we had written. That’s why we gave them away, because I was sure I wouldn’t have been able to fit them anywhere else. The next stuff we record will be very different I think. More indie-rock, less wordy, with a full band.”

Stuff then like new single ‘Falling Into Love’, which is set for an April 19th release on the Young & Lost Club label. Featuring a shed-loud of the band’s famous friends including Charlie Fink and Tom Hobden of Noah and the Whale, the song retains Planet Earth’s sweet, minimalist charm but fleshes out their arrangement by cleverly adding an organ, drums. plugged-in guitar and a variety of other toys to underscore the gentle melody. In that way it follows in the same vein as their previous single release ‘Bergman Movies’, a fun little sing-along with a sizeable drum beat.

The band will be back in the studio this summer to record their debut album with Noah and the Whale’s Fink on production duty. “I’m really excited about it,” beams Lewis. Us to.

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