Under a moniker he's carried since long before his days as Interpol's nasal voiced frontman, and apparently some songs he's been reworking for just as long, Paul Banks has finally embarked on a solo career. With a voice as distinctive as Banks', there was a danger it might be hard to separate Julian Plenti from Interpol, and admittedly, some of the rockier tracks are exceedingly similar, but with 'Julian Plenti... Is Skyscraper' Banks succeeds in stepping out of his niche, with the help of some ambient strings and electronic sound effects.
Interpol's nasal guitar rock might be best heard in the tense and close atmosphere of one of their notoriously compelling live shows, but Paul Banks has no problem getting the lucid and sombre tones of his solo songs to come across on this record. With an electric guitar, Banks creates his customarily potent aura, but refreshingly enough, the most intriguing and intense moments arrive with curiosity and experimentalism - the interplaying guitars and strings of the 'Skyscraper', the tooting horns and synths of 'Unwind', or the auto-tuned Indian style ambient vocals of closer 'H'.
While the twitchy, distorted guitars and dark tones of 'Fun That We Have' and 'Games For Days' would be at home on any Interpol album, it's in his unfamiliar, hushed and mostly melancholy spells that Banks proves he can hold his own as a solo artist. He's not just an inferior offshoot of the band that created him, he's a whole different ballgame, and one well worth playing.