Puzzlewood by Plone

Veteran vintage electronic guys Plone are back. Coming up in the mid ‘90s alongside Broadcast and Pram, they were part of the retro-futuristic scene in Birmingham with links to Ghost Box co-founder Julian House. Now trimmed to a duo, Billy Bainbridge and Mike Johnston have used their knowledge of music technology to create Puzzlewood. It’s an album that takes its cues from library music and children's’ TV, making it a joyous celebration of analogue synths and melody.

Limited Vinyl LP £16.49 GBX034LP

BLACK vinyl LP on Ghost Box. Edition of 500 copies.

  • Limited edition
  • Includes download code
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Limited Vinyl LP £17.99 GBX034LPC

Orange coloured vinyl LP on Ghost Box. Limited edition of 400 copies.

  • Coloured vinyl
  • Limited edition
  • Includes download code
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CD £11.99 GBX034CD

CD on Ghost Box.

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Puzzlewood by Plone
3 reviews. Write a review for us »
8/10 Daoud 15 April 2020

Any of yous playing Animal Crossing right now? That videogame has very much got its hooks in me, and that is in large part thanks to its music. Composed by the K. K. Slider, a dog with a guitar, it includes pieces such as ‘K. K. Metal’, ‘K. K. Jazz’ and ‘K. K. Dirge’. Those pieces are as varied as their titles suggest, but they all share a sweetness that makes them cohere.

It’s this sweetness that comes to mind listening to the first album released by Plone since 1999’s ‘For Beginner Piano’. Though the tools are likely the same (just a bunch of synths), the ensuing two decades represent a change in approach. Their first album was haunted and spare, subtle in its compositions and its melodies. ‘Puzzlewood’ is not like that at all.

This is an album that’s vivid and vibrant, there’s a sheen about the music that gives it an immediacy that ‘For Beginner Piano’ seemed to actively avoid. ‘Day Trip’ is a funk tune, ‘Just A Shadow’ is built on a hilariously cheesy “boing” sound, and swap those synth melodies for vocals and ‘Sunvale Run’ becomes a pretty compelling pop song. It’s silly and gleeful in a way that is utterly infectious. But as with the work of K. K. Slider, it’s that sweetness that ties everything together, because Plone have made quite a varied album here. For all the fun and games there are regular moments that are plaintive and thoughtful, like ‘The Model Village’ and ‘Red Kite’.

One of the great tricks of Animal Crossing is to create very music that is immediate and charming, without ever becoming tiresome. With ‘Puzzlewood’, Plone have done the same thing.

6/10 Used to be Ploned Customer rating (no review), 10th May 2020
8/10 Gordon Customer rating (no review), 1st May 2020



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