PLANKEYE
The One and Only (BEC Recordings)

By Robert Gruber

They used to call this "meat-and-potatoes" rock--your basic guitar-bass-drums outfit with a rough-voiced lead singer. Plankeye has that certain agelessness to their music that could have found them succeeding in any of the past 3 decades like, say, Cheap Trick. Or Weezer. You could even call this "classic rock', that is if it weren't so darned alternative.

In any case, this is Plankeye's tightiest, hookiest, most commercial album yet. Eric Balmer's solid, edgy guitar meshes with Luis Garcia's bass to create a low rumble that undergirds songs like 'Playground' and 'It's Been So Very Long'. Drummer Adam Ferry keeps the beats crisp and pumping, guaranteeing a certain amount of pogo-action at the live show.

Singer Scott Silletta seems to enjoy his work--there isn't any of that pathetic "I hate life" screaming as he passes along messages like "the silver pinholes of the night refuse to sing their starry song tonight" (from 'Fall Down') or "landmarks that define no longer align with the direction we're heading" (from 'Landmarks'). 'One or the Other' has a cool, slow-building AC/DC grind, a mystery of pain that has Silletta singing, "We'll reminisce when we're upstairs".

Though never much of a Plankeye fan, I'm deeply impressed by The One and Only, their fourth album. Smoothing over the rough edges of their indie-rock beginnings has not dulled the sharpness of their integrity or their music. If anything, it's only made them sharper--like the suits they wear on the album cover.