The story goes that Jam Rostron – the Berlin-based songwriter and producer behind Planningtorock – was feeling uninspired in the wake of her second album, 2011’s menacing, politically-infused ‘W’ (review), and considering giving up music. A breakthrough came when she penned ‘Patriarchy Over & Out’ – the closing track of ‘All Love’s Legal’ – and found a new direction.
This, then, is Planningtorock V.2: still politicised, but a more “liberating” outfit. “All love is legal you can't illegalise love / Love is the one gift that gives life its purpose,” she sings on the title track, setting up a record that’s overtly about sexuality and gender (something reflected in the fact that Rostron has changed her first name to the non-gender-specific Jam, and in some comically on the nose track titles like ‘Beyond Binary Binds’).
It's not a lecture, though – primarily this is a dancefloor-focussed disco record, not a million miles away from the first Hercules & Love Affair album. It’s nocturnal and sexy, and easier to engage with than ‘W’. It’s warm and embracing.
‘Misogyny Drop Dead’ recalls old pals and collaborators, The Knife, with its inventive rhythm and vocal effects, while that upbeat finale is the clear standout. It’s here that the album comes closest to achieving its stated aim.
Throughout, Rostron’s vocals veer between engaging and occasionally irritating (“public” isn’t normally pronounced “blubleg”, y’know), and ‘Answer Land’ goes nowhere. But it’s a fun record, and as adventurous as we’ve come to expect from Planningtorock.
Words: Will Salmon
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