Planet Patrol

Planet Patrol

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While Planet Patrol was one of numerous outlets for electro architects Arthur Baker and John Robie, the group itself was a quintet of singers with deep soul roots -- most notably the Energetics, an act that worked with Brian and Eddie Holland and released an album on Atlantic in 1978. The vocalists, led by Herb Jackson, stick close to their background with a faithful cover of Todd Rundgren's blue-eyed Philly soul classic “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference.” Otherwise, the group’s lone album is pure electro, albeit a form that allowed enough space for the voices to shine through. Unlike most electro, these tracks don’t feature robotic refrains or sparse MC’ing but song-oriented vocal showcases. The biggest hit was “Play at Your Own Risk,” which matched booming sci-fi-drama sonics with old-school heartache and trailed Bambaataa’s Baker/Robie collaboration “Planet Rock” by a few months. A clumpy Gary Glitter cover is the only filler. [The CD reissue added an unnecessary Lil Jon remix.]

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