Planet Loser – ‘S/T’

By Danny Randon

Migrating from the hardcore scene to dreamier pastures is not a move that’s wholly unheard of. If it weren’t for the frenetic energies of Poison the Well, we may not have Derek Miller creating noise-pop mischief in Sleigh Bells, and could we have ever had the darkwave musings of Cold Cave if Wesley Eisold hadn’t first strapped his heart firmly to his sleeve in American Nightmare?

The latest musician to step from pits to pop is Ethan Murphy who, as the former bassist of Florida bruisers Blistered, has paired up with long-time Amber Lewis for Planet Loser – a neon-tinted project which couldn’t be further from his guttural beatdowns of old.

Murphy’s musical lineage lends itself – even if it is ever so slightly – to the occasional flashes of urgency on Planet Loser’s introductory release, whether it’s the thumping beat of ‘Floating Through You’ or the punkier Cure-esque bop of ‘Warmth’.

With one foot planted firmly in an adoration for the ’80s, this EP harks back to the glory days of the Brat Pack, and an era where ‘new wave’ was actually something new. However, its other foot steers clear of pastiche, and there’s something refreshingly contemporary about the lucid guitar-synth combos and Lewis’ reverberate vocals which take front and centre throughout.

Showing plenty of potential in these first five tracks, Planet Loser venture into a swathe of lush alt-pop vibes, but they do it with enough backbone to keep you on your toes.

DANNY RANDON

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