Pllajë is where Christian Berishaj becomes his own man. 2012’s Priscilla may have been a sign of things to come, but a stuttering career in pop rock and blatant Weeknd-worship were not the strongest of foundations for a rebooted career in a new genre (namely the dark variant of R&B). Unlike The Weeknd however, 2013 was the year Berishaj consolidated his new persona. He crafts a simple atmosphere on Pllajë, one made from the finest strands of piano and synth in the knowledge that his music’s strength lies in its pop sensibilities and the thread of melodies which seems to run unfalteringly through the entire album – a light “ooooohoohoooh” there, a little “didn’t you didn’t you didn’t you” there. The transitions between tracks are deliciously smooth and even the percussion has a clean bite which accentuates each hook; it’s easy to miss the choruses if you aren’t paying full attention. The lyrics tell clichéd tales of lost love and sad sex but they’re set into such a lulling vibe that questions of pretence or authenticity are unnecessary.
It isn’t particularly ground-breaking musically, but Pllajë is a milestone on a more personal level for JMSN. Here he finally settles into the perfect platform for the songwriting and multi-instrumental talents which have until now suffered from a lack of focus and direction. His ability for cohesion and musical flow are here realised and it’s therefore extremely difficult to pick out any low points, or indeed the highlights. Rather, Pllajë is an album that sets a vibe, or that has its little hidden delights forgotten then rediscovered as if being listened to for the first time again. It’s catchy, but not obnoxiously so, and atmospheric, but not so much that it’s suffocating. Most importantly, it’s fresh. Finally, JMSN can set out on his own journey.
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