Although Sandro Perri has been playing shows both by himself and others for the past couple years now, most people are more familiar with his Polmo Polpo guise than his solo work (which ranges from acoustic guitar and vocals to full-band). Perri is also one-half of Glissandro 70, who put out their excellent self-titled release earlier this year.
Last year, Perri gathered up some friends and recorded a handfull of tracks that are rather dramatic re-interpretations of Polmo Polpo tracks. The result is this mini-LP (EP?) of five songs and just under thirty minutes of music, where electronic drones and synth layers become played instruments, submerged beats are largely stripped (or turned into some live percussion), guitars become a focal point, and Perri himself adds vocals to nearly every track. The disc opens with "Romeo Heart (Slight Return)" and the track itself doesn't sound too far off from Polmo Polpo's Like Hearts Swelling as swirling horns, flutes, bass drones, piano, strings, percussion and guitar all sort of swirl together into a slowly-pulsing piece that squirms with a touch of electronic filtering.
"Requiem For A Fox" follows, and turns the track on its head with a hop-along, almost poppy rhythm section that lopes along under all kinds of pretty guitar melodies and the original soaring vocal melody. Before you know it, though, Perri starts in with yet another layer of vocals, and they have hooks anew. The piece seems to lose its way a bit about halfway through and turns into a noodle-fest at the end, dissolving some of the potency of the solid beginning.
The final three tracks on the disc are quite different in that they're more acoustic-based, but they're also the standouts of the release. "Sky Histoire" layers overlapping picked guitar melodies and some subdued horns with more great vocals, while both "Dreaming" and "Circles" strip things back even more, with the former finding only a kick drum and acoustic guitar accompanying the most infectious vocals on the disc. Sometimes great, and sometimes somewhat unfocused sounding, Plays Polmo Polpo is yet another interesting turn from Perri. He' supposedly working on a full-length that will be released early next year, and based on his varied output to date, it will be fascinating to see which direction he goes in next.