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Mellotron Storm
4 stars The "No Plan" EP was released on what would have been Bowie's 70th birthday. Just 18 minutes worth of music but well worth picking up if you enjoyed the "Blackstar" album. That album was my number one for 2016 so buying this EP was a bit of a no brainer considering the songs here could all have been on "Blackstar" as they all have that same vibe. Of course the opener "Lazarus" is on the studio album.

"Lazarus" is incredible for it's lyrics which could make your hair stand up. Love the droning horns and overall melancholic mood which was there in spades on "Blackstar" and throughout this EP. I mentioned the lyrics and here's a sample... "Look up here, I'm in heaven!" which is significant with him passing just after "Blackstar" was released. love the line later on... "By the time I got to New York, I was living like a king." Such emotion in the lines that follow as well. Some abrasive guitar expressions late.

"No Plan" is the only tune that I'm not big on. It's still a good song though. Heavy drums, keys and sax as laid back vocals join in almost quivering. Vocals stop after 2 1/2 minutes then the sax returns as it plays out to the end.

"Killing a Little Time" is my favourite of the new songs. A surprisingly powerful sound here with impressive drum work from American Jazz drummer Mark Guiliana. It settles back as vocals arrive quickly but the power will come and go. Some emotion in those vocals. What a song!

"When I Met You" opens with drums and atmosphere as the bass and keys join in, then vocals just after a minute. Catchy stuff. Great chorus too. I just want to keep singing "When I met you" over and over just like Bowie does.

Easily 4 stars and a great companion to "Blackstar".

Report this review (#1802612)
Posted Thursday, October 12, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars The No Plan EP is, undoubtedly, a curious addition to Bowie's tremendous catalog. Appearing almost exactly a year after Bowie passed away. It is understandable that many will consider it a parting gift from the Bowie. Depending on what you think about that, the value of No Plan changes accordingly. No Plan is a powerful EP with moving songs and is a worthy addition to Bowie's catalog. No Plan is a separate entity to Blackstar in that it offers more to his family than fans. Blackstar's track order has always reflected the seven stages of grief to me.

The EP opens with "Lazarus"which has overtures of his forthcoming death ? perhaps but only because we now know Bowie was close to his own demise when he recorded it.The opening lyrics "Look up here, I'm in heaven" will pull at the heart strings of his fans, or anyone for that matter. This track is both touching and moving. It is clear that, when planning this EP out, Bowie knew he would have passed at the time of it's release. The title track 'No Plan' is a hauntingly beautiful message from the other side. The strong, melancholic sax solo is very moving and - the lyrics 'There's no music here, I'm lost in streams of sound" and "Oh, of the things that are my life, my moods, my beliefs, desires, me alone, nothing to regret; here is my place without a plan" speak of a spiritual side to Bowie. The last two tracks, 'Killing A Little Time' and 'When I Met You', are much more upbeat and rock-oriented. The soundscapes of both tracks feel more like cuts from The Next Day to me than they do from Blackstar. "Killing a Little Time" is a great rock tune. The lyrics paint a picture of many emotions and the vocals are a great contrast to the slower tracks on No Plan. The abrasive quality of the music is appealing and engaging on a deep level, and the off-center sax solo under the vocal lines along with the independent melodic lines rhythms provided by the percussion is clever and superbly placed to make this something of an epic number. "When I Met You" begins with a steady, heart beat-like rhythm and develops into a poppy number reminiscent of many of David Bowie's great hits. It opens with the lyrics "You knew just everything but nothing at all; now the moon is dark, feels like pain again" lines that point to unspoken love. A great track and very Bowie! "When I Met You" really shows the purpose of this EP. It is a moving love song that, without ever using the word love once, conveys the message of life-changing affection clearly. While much of Blackstar's material could be perceived as a gift to the fans, 'When I Met You' is Bowie's present to his wife, Iman. There was little on Blackstar that could be related to Iman, so the No Plan EP serves as a beautiful consolidation of their years together.

No Plan is a powerful EP with moving songs and is a worthy addition to Bowie's catalog. No Plan should be treated as a separate entity to Blackstar. It offers more to his family than fans, but it is still an important ? and enjoyable ? listen for everyone. No Plan can be appreciated as a standalone EP and is a brilliant supplement to 2016's Blackstar.

Report this review (#2169838)
Posted Saturday, March 30, 2019 | Review Permalink

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