Formed in 1986 from the ashes of Liverpool-based post-punk band A Better Mousetrap and Warringtonian art-rockers After The Stranger, Plenty was a group that featured singer Tim Bowness immediately prior to him hooking up with multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson to found No-Man.
Echoing then-contemporary artists such as The Blue Nile, It’s Immaterial, The Chameleons, David Sylvian and Talk Talk – as well as the iconic likes of David Bowie, Eno/Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush – Plenty alternated between anthemic indie-pop, poignant ballads and electronic experiments. In 2018, Bowness and fellow original Plenty members Brian Hulse and David K Jones reunited to record and release the well-received album ‘It Could Be Home’.
‘Enough’ is a brand new 2xCD that comprises two 2021 ‘lockdown’ projects plus the first-ever release of seven original demos recorded in the ‘80s. Harder hitting and more diverse than its predecessor, ‘Old’ is a mini-album consisting of seven contemporary interpretations of 1980’s Plenty songs not included on the reunion record. ‘Borrowed’ is an EP of five cover versions that sees the trio stamp its identity on songs by It’s Immaterial, Suzanne Vega (wherein despair takes a trip to the Euro disco), The Teardrop Explodes, Kevin Coyne and Hank Williams (in what may be the most English slice of Americana ever!). ‘Older’ features seven original Plenty demos dating from 1986 to 1990, with several songs containing lyrical ideas later utilised by No-Man.
Something old, something borrowed, but all blue, ‘Enough’ showcases the origins of styles that subsequently became Bowness and No-Man trademarks and reveals different facets to his distinctive vocal technique. The powerful bass playing of Jones and inventive guitar parts and pulsating electronics from Hulse also push Bowness into territories he’s rarely explored since the 1980s.
A video for a re-recording of the first-ever Plenty song, ‘Forest Almost Burning’, has just been made available. Bowness explains that the original “was one of the first pieces of mine that I sent to Steven Wilson and it ended up being included on Steven’s compilation album ‘Double Exposure’ [released in 1988]. It was also enough to convince Steven he’d like to work with me, and it became a part of our early No-Man live sets.” Both versions of the track appear on ‘Enough’.
The artwork for ‘Enough’ is by Carl Glover and the 2xCD booklet includes extensive sleeve notes by Tim Bowness.
PLENTY : 1988 photo by Robert Whitrow
Tim Bowness – vocals, backing vocals, FX
Brian Hulse – guitars, pianos, synths, drum programming
David K Jones – bass, fretless bass, double bass, bass pedals
Tom Atherton – drums
Michael Bearpark – guitars, fretless bass
Peter Chilvers – piano, synths
Charles Grimsdale – drums