Since their formation back in 2013, the Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia-based post-punk trio PLOHO have firmly established themselves at the forefront of a contemporary, new wave of Russian music. Inspired by Joy Division and late Soviet-era acts like Kino, the Siberian act’s cold and bleak sound evokes both the bitter cold of their homeland and that uncertain and uneasy period of the Soviet Union just before its inevitable collapse.
Back in 2020. Artoffact Records released the Siberian trio’s fifth album, the critically applauded, Фантомные Чувства (Phantom Feelings), which featured:
- “Танцы в темноте (“Dancing in the Dark”), a nostalgia-inducing, dance floor friendly bop featuring reverb-drenched guitars, shimmering synth arpeggios, a motorik groove and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with lyrics delivered in a seemingly ironically detached Russian.
- “Нулевые” (in Cyrillic) or “Nulevyye” (in Latin),” a bracingly chilly bit of 4AD Records-like post punk centered around frontman Victor Ujakov’s sonorous baritone, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, skittering four-on-the-floor, a relentless motoik groove and an enormous hook. And much like its predecessor, is a dance floor friendly bop.
The Russian post-punk outfit began the year with “Plattenbauten,” their first ever German-language song. “Plattenbauten,” is a translation of the band’s 2015 debut single “Новостройки (New Buildings)” featuring lyrics translated by German poet Boris Shneider and re-recorded as a standalone single. Centered around a relentless motorik groove, forceful four-on-the-floor, Uzhakov’s deadpan delivery and shimmering guitar attack, “Plattenbauten” is a decidedly new take that evokes an oppressive, seemingly infinite grey; an overwhelmingly oppressive sameness, crushing poverty and bitter frustration over lack of options and opportunities.
Ploho’s sixth album, Когда душа спит (When The Soul Sleeps) is slated for a November 4, 2022 release through Artoffact Records. Centered around somber yet beautiful lead guitar, Uzhavok’s lush baritone, gorgeous melodies and emotionally devastating synth and drum work, the new album will reportedly be among the most engaging of their growing catalog.
Earlier this month I wrote about “Магнитофон,” a bracingly cold bit of post-punk centered around glistening synth arpeggios, reverb-drenched bursts of guitar, paired with a motorik groove and Uzhakov’s lush and expressive baritone. And while sonically bringing The Cure, Cocteau Twins and 4AD Records to mind, the song evokes something much darker and foreboding — an impending sense of doom.
“Никогда не говори никогда (Never Say Never),” Когда душа спит (When The Soul Sleeps)‘s latest single is a seemingly upbeat and swooning bop centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, relentless four-on-the-floor and glistening synths arpeggios paired with Uzhakov’s lush baritone, a fluttering synth solo, a sizzling guitar solo and the trio’s unerring knack for big hooks and enormous chorus. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Магнитофон” will continue to bring 4AD Records and 80s post-punk to mind but with a slick, modern production.