14 DAYS by Marcus "bonzo dog" Knight PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 02 January 2007
14 DAYS :: review by Marcus "bonzo dog" Knight

14 days is the first release from Anglo-Italian duo Plunkett.
A pure and natural record in a world of ipods and samples, 14 days wafts out of the speakers and envelopes you like a familiar old winter coat. Equally introspective and upbeat. Quiet and yet powerful. Stark yet warm.

It wraps up influences from early Dylan circa-Freewheelin' and After The Goldrush-era Neil Young with a dash of Beck, Turin Brakes and Gomez for a more modern spin on what most people would try to label 'folk rock' (how I hate categorising bands!).
The scene is set on the opening track, The River. While most new artists would fall into the big entrance trap of having a full-on, bells n' whistles statement of intent, 14 days keeps the big guns firmly up it's sleeve until later in the album and instead welcomes you in like an old friend.
Gentle acoustic picking and a warm vocal herald an opening track that would be equally at home on Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left if a string section was available. The production is low-key and intimate, but not bedroomy or claustrophobic. Harmonies and double tracking of the vocals adding colour. Neat little sounds and touches scatter the album, making it a clear cut above the usual 'unplugged' offerings.

The intimate feeling saturates the lyrics of the album too. 14 days can sound touching, warming and deeply personal. Sometimes bordering on the painfully confessional. But it is all done with sensitivity. Rather than whine or moan about lost times, loves, friendships or opportunities, Plunkett show a maturity in their combined writing and arrangements and at times it's hard to believe that only two people were involved in the production of the tracks you're hearing. The lyrics make clear nods to past experiences and relationships, but not in a bitter way. More like a right of passage. Akin to Dylan's Girl From The North Country, it is respectful of times past and wishes only the positive for those involved in the situations.

The arrangements are in good taste and rarely shout the message or spoon-feed the listener.
The guitar work is always immaculate and distinctive. The guitars are often layered electric over acoustic and vice versa in a style reminiscent of Pete Townsend and, while it would be easy to be self-indulgent and go into elaborate Jimmy Page style guitar solo's, restraint is shown and only occasionally do you get a glimpse of the full power of what the band can do.
Ironically, it is the pared-down acoustic offerings on the album which seem to have more authority, with Hold Tight being a personal high water mark, the delicate acoustic guitar giving way to a more powerful chords and rhythm work. It's a song of fear and finally liberation and release. The lyrics mirroring the writer's own personal struggles and emancipation: ''I never thought it could happen this way, one faith was broken but the other's been paid''.

It's not all emotional roller coaster though. There are good, honest pop songs here too Give In Give Out and 21st Century to name only two. Overall, 14 days achieves that rare objective of having just the right balance between emotion and good tunes. Message with melody. And I guarantee that after a couple of listens at least one of these songs will be pacing around your mind.
Marcus "bonzo dog" Knight
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