Since their formation back in 2013, the Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia-based post-punk trio PLOHO have firmly established themselves as one of most prominent purveyors of a contemporary, new wave of Russian music. Inspired by late Soviet era acts like Kino and Joy Division, the Siberian act’s sound and approach evokes the bitter cold of their homeland.
Last year, Artoffact Records released the Siberian trio’s fifth album, Фантомные Чувства (Phantom Feelings). I managed to write about two of the album’s singles:
- “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 starts off 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 punctuated by forceful four-on-the-floor, Ujakov’s deadpan delivery and shimmering angular guitar attack, “Plattenbauten” is a decidedly new take on the original’s vibe, that evokes an oppressive, seemingly infinite grey, an oppressive sameness, an overwhelming poverty and frustration. As Jim Kelly’s character says in Enter the Dragon “Ghettos are the same all over the world.” It seems that he wasn’t wrong.
The song’s title refers to a new style of communist-era high-rise apartment blocks, which were at one point highly popular throughout a great deal of Europe — and for the Russian post-punk outfit, recalls the Soviet era aesthetic. “This song was playing in German in my head when I found myself in eastern Berlin,” the band’s Victor Ujakov says in press notes. “I lived in exactly the same area thousands of kilometres away in Novosibirsk (West Siberia). The atmosphere was amazing.”
Directed, edited and shot by Igor Tsvetkov, the accompanying video for “Plattenbauen” follows Ujakov on a late night walk through the back alleys of a Plattenbauen while singing the song.