Backup Planet gears up to release new album
Pay any attention at all to the local scene and you can’t help but notice that Backup Planet has become a household name. In fact, the band has become such a familiar (and welcome) sight that I was surprised to discover the Nashville-based outfit was, well, Nashville based.
I would have sworn they were a tad more local given their robust series of appearances recently. Local or not, they are popular, and while popular doesn’t always mean good, in this case it absolutely does.
The quartet features Ben Cooper on keys, synth and bass; Carson Brown does duty on drums; Gavin Donati is the resident guitar slinger and Blake Gallant is the full-time bass player. Mr. Gable Larramore serves as the band’s lighting designer, a role crucial enough to earn him billing as a regular member. and underscoring the notion that in concert anyway the band is a complete audio/visual experience.
While some bands choose to focus on either performance or recording, Backup Planet has managed to lay down tracks for a brand-new album while simultaneously holding down a performance schedule that any band, local, regional or otherwise would be proud (and exhausted) to maintain. The result is an album that serves as a candid snapshot of the band at their best.
The new disc will feature 12 tunes and a run time of an hour and fifteen minutes. Two words encapsulate the theme of the work: progressive funk. To expound upon that just a bit, the album is a collection of ass-kickin’, high-energy progressive funk juxtaposed with some smoother, laid-back, jazz-like pieces.
One of the particularly standout tracks, “I Keep Wondering,” reminds me of nothing so much as early Red Hot Chili Peppers, something from Freaky Styley, perhaps. Let me amend that slightly—it is reminiscent of early Chili Peppers minus the endless paean to Southern California, and a touch more control over chaos. And less slobber.
“Think Thick” is a groovier jam, laid back and smooth and with a definite prog-rock vibe. This tune is followed up by “Last Ride,” a track that answers the question, “Sure, but can they rock?” The funk is still there, the prog is still there, but this track is nothing as much as straightforward, bad-ass rock and roll.
From gritty rock tune we progress on to the next track, “Live Inside,” which seems almost playful by comparison. Light and breezy, this tune is as close as the band comes to pop music. That doesn’t mean it’s pop; it means it is as close as they come to pop. The tune still retains the impressive chops and range of a band whose songs average seven to eight minutes apiece, yet always seem to end too soon.
That’s only a third of the tracks found on this as-of-yet untitled album, but it’s a fair representation of what you’ll hear from Backup Planet.
The record is set for release next year in late January or early February, and as always I’ll be sure to let you know here first. In the meantime, it shouldn’t be hard to catch a live performance of Backup Planet. Lord knows the boys get around and pair nicely with local favorites like Soul Mechanic and the enigmatic Danimal Pinson.
The fellas also enjoy a healthy online presence, so ten seconds and a Google search bar should bring you all the Backup Planet you need to get started.