Plan Three – ‘Wish I Was Stormborne’

By Chris Hilson

Plan Three initially formed back in 2000 but gaps of several years between releases, including a three year hiatus from 2011 to 2014, means that ‘Wish I Was Stormborne’ is only their second full album. Such a fragmented past means that Plan Three have not yet managed to build on the momentum and success of high profile festival slots and various EPs and singles.

Perhaps it’s a case of tentatively blowing away the cobwebs but ‘Welcome To The Edge’ is not the best choice of song to open the album with. The modern and clean production gives it a slick radio-friendly appeal but it also throws a blanket over the brooding guitars. Under the gloss, there is a strong set of riffs wanting to break out but they aren’t really given a fair chance.

Thankfully, having eased themselves back into it, the rest of ‘Wish I Was Stormborne’ is much more confident and musically rich. ‘The Otherside’ is driven, melodic and uplifting, and brilliantly demonstrates just what Plan Three is capable of. ‘Echo’ sees their confidence grow further as they fuse elements of a gentle piano ballad with a rising and catchy chorus. Both songs show a flair for epic stadium-filling rock and make it easy to see why the band have shared stages with the likes of Thirty Seconds To Mars.

Jacob Lovén’s vocals are a highlight across the whole album, but ‘Carl Sagan’ is the perfect showcase for them. A simple accompaniment of piano and strings is all that is needed for his soulful and powerful yet heartfelt vocals to really shine. Whilst Plan Three never really let loose in a furious barrage of heavy guitars and pounding drums, anyone craving something a bit meatier will keep returning to the final five songs.

‘Unveil The Unknown’ is given a pop sheen by the various samples and effects but the guitars provide a welcome kick of excitement. ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Burn’ are both dynamic and energetic slices of modern alternative rock and are perhaps the songs most likely to win them new fans and propel Plan Three to new heights.

‘Wish I Was Stormborne’ is an album that encapsulates the sense of balance between the subtle and the direct and it runs throughout each song, be it the anthemic ‘When Everything Comes To An End’ or the instrumental title track. Up until now Plan Three have not been the most prolific of bands but here’s hoping they continue to believe in quality over quantity.

CHRIS HILSON

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