Russian post-punk trio Ploho release their first-ever German-language track, “Plattenbauten”, a translation and re-recording of the band’s 2015 debut song, Новостройки (New Buildings). While the song is not a new composition, the lyrics, translated by German poet Boris Shneider, give a fresh spin on the song.
“This song was playing in German in my head when I found myself in eastern Berlin,” says frontman and lyricist Viktor Ujakov. “I lived in exactly the same area thousands of kilometres away in Novosibirsk (West Siberia). The atmosphere was amazing.”
Plattenbauten refers to a new style of communist-era high-rise apartment blocks, bringing to mind the Brutalist Soviet era aesthetic that crept up all over the world after WW2. Every city in the world suddenly had Plattenbauten springing up in the ashes of destroyed towns, felled Beaux Arts beauties, and booming industrial town.
“This song is about all the people of the world having a lot more in common than might seem at first glance,” Ujakov explains. “Whatever is going on – technological progress, political games, the conquest of space – it doesn’t matter. We all live in our own ghettos. We are in Siberia, you are in East Berlin, or you are in Zagreb, or you are in Boston.”
The standalone single is accompanied by a hypnotic video featuring frontman Viktor Ujakov walking in dark back-alley while singing along to the song’s deadpan lyrics. The effect brings to mind the icy classic Eisbär, by Swiss electro outfit Grauzone.
Watch the video for “Plattenbauten” directed by Igor Tsvetkov, below:
Based in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia, where the average temperature in January clocks in at two degrees Fahrenheit, Ploho is one of the most prominent purveyors of a “new wave of Russian music,” reflecting its homeland by way of a cold, wistful style of rock. Wielding melancholy guitars, minimalist beats, and deadpan Russian vocals, Ploho draws inspiration from the aesthetic and sounds of the late Soviet era of the 1980s, just before the collapse. The band’s bleak rock references Russian bands of that time period, such as Kino, as well as post-punk royalty like Joy Division.
Formed in 2013, the trio has emerged as a household name in its native Russia, and has slowly built up a dedicated fanbase in Europe and abroad. To date, Ploho has recorded several albums and EPs, as well as more than 10 singles, which they have supported by touring more than 40 cities in Europe, many times over. The band has appeared at prominent festivals including Боль in Russia, Kalabalik in Sweden, and Platforma in Lithuania. In 2019, they teamed up with Belarusian band Molchat Doma (Sacred Bones Records) to collaborate on a song titled “Along the Edge of the Island.”
In 2021, the band released Phantom Feelings via Toronto-based Artoffact Records, and it was one of Post-Punk.com’s choices for the best albums of 2021.