The Planet Pluto is a three-piece band consisting of Blair Hill (vocals/guitar), Rocky Kratt (bass), and Keith White (drums). Hard to really peg into any particular sub genre or scene, they have, since their inception, maintained an interest in pushing songs through a narrative structure and interweave consistent ideas and concepts relating to the supernatural, science fiction & fact as well as conspiracy, the human condition and societal issues. Here is a song by song review of their latest offering “Ballad of Dreams”.

Sweet Dreams — Nice intro, a pastoral piece, with nature sounds, and a mournful (to me) sounding guitar melody… The strings give it a movie score feel, leading into…
Alisa — Builds on the ‘Sweet Dreams’ intro, soft vocals, and a marching band snare drum rhythm…peaks with heavy guitars…gets dense really quickly, taking away from the pastoral mood…back down into a wah wah guitar solo, sounds nice here (it was either the mix, or it was just ‘too much’, IMO)….changes tempo and mood near the end…For some reason, I’m reminded of groups like Mars Volta — it might be the mood changes… Interesting production and arrangement. I respect it….
She Takes My Breath Away — Lighter mood! The guitarist is really good. I don’t know what you’d call the mood, gypsy? Cabaret Music? Very 60’s, in good and bad ways (the whole album, overall)… excellent musicianship on this….
The Philadelphia Experiment — “Sounds like Skater Music”—my brother. I’ll leave it there….
Ultra Violence — Catchy bass/guitar riff, nice groove. Sounds like spy movie stuff, in the beginning…. All of this stuff is well produced and arranged. The mix on this joint, to me, is a little flat, which takes from the music. The dynamic changes don’t sound ‘dynamic’, so to speak… Many of these songs sound muddy in places….
Ghosts — These cats are fond of sound effects/pads. Guitar features prominently – a sparse, single note theme…nice background vocals and harmonies…. Walking bass line into big guitar chords, into unison playing with the bass… P.S. many of these songs seemed like scorned lover stuff…this is actually one of the ones I like the most…. Nice ‘stop and go’ thing with the vocals and band…Ambitious… This  would go over great, live….
Vampire Song — Pretty and slow, with a ‘dripping water’ sound running throughout, interesting percussion…. I like the keyboard/guitar unison stuff…
The Bliss — Drum intro, heavy guitars, bass!!!!! I like where it’s going, instrumentally…. Fast guitars, unison playing (again). I think the MIX of this EP bothers me—no dynamics! When you have so many mood changes, there should be some sort of mood change that you feel! Everything’s at the same level, so NOTHING POPS OUT.

Bottom Line: This is a decent EP, ambitious in scope—I applaud the effort. However,
I feel that most of these songs would be WAY MORE IMPRESSIVE played live. The
guitarist is HOT, but, the rest of this leaves me wanting….

Best Cuts: The Bliss, Ghosts, She Takes My Breath Away.

Find the EP for download at their CD Baby store!

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About the Author

Shea Newkirk

Executive Editor, Long Beach Independent

Shea has been involved in the Long Beach music scene since 2003 helping to promote unsigned, independent bands and musicians through various media including photos, video, event production, and marketing. Founder of and Folk Revival Festival as well as a musician with over 15 years experience, Shea has a great ear for finding the best independent music coming out of the local Long Beach music scene.

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