Planet P Project- Levittown: Go Out Dancing Part II (Renaissance)
review by Joe del Tufo

Track Listing

1. The New Frontier
2. Levittown
3. White Sands
4. Saw A Satellite
5. This Is Heaven
6. In Babylon
7. Fremont Street
8. Where We Want You
9. All God's Children
10. Waiting For You
11. Your Eyes
12. What We Did
13. Go Out Dancing

For me, it is difficult to weigh the importance of a new Planet P album. After releasing two seminal CDs in 1983-84 (Planet P Project and Pink World), it was another 20 years before 1931 (Go Out Dancing Part 1) arrived. Where the first two CDs were major influences on my personal interest in music as an impressionable teen, 1931 found both myself and the Planet P living on a different planet and in a different stage of life, albeit no less profound.

For me, Pink World was the CD (record, actually) that I lent people when I wanted to hit them over the head with something amazing, something they'd never heard before, something with Substance. I'd let them immerse themselves in the marvelous concept piece and then reveal that the entire thing-- vocals, instruments, lyrics-- was all the work of one man.

Tony Carey has released some 15+ solo albums since his departure from Rainbow in 1977, and Levittown is the 4th official Planet P Project release. You may recall his 80s solo hit A Fine, Fine Day, or another early single I Won't Be Home Tonight. Planet P was originally conceived as an outlet to explore concepts that did not neatly fit into Carey's solo work. Where the latter is generally singer-songwriter fare, the Planet P tunes which began as sci-fi prog for a post-Pink Floyd era, eventually became a more pronounced socio-political commentary (as Carey presumably realized that fact was even more interesting/ scary than fiction), and that is where we arrive in Levittown.

So now, sitting here with Planet P's fourth album in 25 years, part 2 of a planned trilogy, one is tempted to spend a month or so before even trying deconstruct this into an objective review. But we're in Internet time right now, and it is simply unacceptable to listen to music the way we once had the luxury of doing. But it's been four listens now, about the maximum I end up listening to anything in this era of instantly downloadable box sets, and I think there's a little I can say about it.

Levittown opens by setting the theme- Carey describes the concept in a brief spoken word introduction. He explains Levittown as the invention of Bill Levitt, who in 1946 wanted to provide cheap and affordable housing to returning veterans. "Houses that were all the same. All white enclaves of conformity and uniformity." It was around this time that the McDonalds and Holiday Inns of the world all struck upon the same idea, and the ticky-tacky future America that we have lived into was born. But the real theme here is actually an even larger canvas-- the secret history of one of America's greatest products-- FEAR-- from 1946 to present. Yeah, this ain't gonna fly on Clear Channel.

The energetic The New Frontier opens the musical portion of Part 2, and we quickly recognize the classic Planet P elements: the poignant lyrics, layered instruments, catchy choruses, synth-filtered backing vocals and that characteristic voice. When Carey utters "Fight it-- just hold on to someone close to you-- there's something very very wrong around here", we recognize this as an indictment of the last 60 years of the American Dream Gone Wrong. And it goes on to point a finger at some conspiracy theories that anchor one the CD's core convictions-- that all is not what it seems in the US, and hasn't been for some time. The title track Levittown extends the concept-- "We're gonna live in Levittown, we're gonna make it in Levittown... we're so happy we could scream, it's the American Dream." The track closes with a classic and delicious guitar solo, as a bridge towards the present.

Things do not improve in White Sands, told from the perspective of a Nazi scientist who travels to the US to work on Kennedy's space program (reference the little known Operation Paperclip). Carey opens the track with the spoken accusation, "Pontius Pilate had less blood on his hands than these guys." It is a brooding, haunting track that again positions our history in a slightly different context than the high school textbooks. Saw A Satellite follows, and is very much the heart and soul of Levittown. Told from the perspective of a young boy, it targets the lost innocence and deception upon which the hopes of that generation were grounded.

I saw a satellite
watched it fly by
saw everything change tonight
from a hundred miles high
I went off to school, along with the others
to learn how to think the American way
they shot down the man, shot down his brother
and good doctor king he met jimmy earl ray.

In Babylon is one of several musical highlights. The closest to "dance" that Go Out Dancing gets, it is a soaring big beat slice of rock and roll. Lyrically we're, well "it's just another night in babylon, another piece of freedom's gone," and we're starting to touch on more modern times. It is the first reference to Iraq, and I suspect Go Out Dancing Part 3 will spend a fair bit of time on that oil field battleground. The track Waiting For You is a reference to Carey's nephew, currently serving in Iraq.

Fremont Street is the musical high point for me, and Carey's recent electronica influences are evident here. Hoover Dam, Hollywood, and Las Vegas-- "Sometimes you get a little crazy from there heat, the drinks are free you get a little wobbly on your feet, and even though you've got a system that can't be beat... you leave your money on the table, on Fremont Street." The track feels like the culmination of all of Carey's solo work and Planet P efforts all tucked neatly into one six minute track. It is sublime.

"If you want to distract somebody from the truth, you tell the big lie. You find a common enemy. It's been done before. Still works, doesn't it?" Where We Want You takes us to the present. Post-9/11 fear, bird flu, global warming all fight for time on the crowded stage of orchestrated fear and, as the lyrics so concisely summarize, "We've got you where we want you..."

I'm not quite sure whether "What We Did" is a reference to a possible past or a possible future. Whether it is a metaphor or just a possible place that fear ultimately takes us. In either case, somewhere amidst its cathartic guitar and rising vocals, it paints a pretty grim picture.

I guess you know by now
things got out of hand somehow
duck and cover did not pass the test
I did the job they gave to me
punched in the codes, turned the key
you could feel the rumble
all the way down to your bones
I don't know where mine were aimed
you never know that kind of thing
but east of the jordan river
no one answers the phone
and what we did
we did because god told us to.

The concept of "Go Out Dancing" is a reference to the cold war, a time when we once felt it inevitable that someone was going to let one of those bombs fly, or some horrible accident would bring it all down. But the reality, at least as it is intimated here, is that all great empires are ultimately their own undoing.

The last days of the world came with a whimper,
not a bang
no white knight got the girl,
and no fat lady sang
and someone in a back room somewhere
made one small mistake
was it ebola or cholera,
what difference does it make?

You could either give into the fear, or live your life. Go out cowering and not having lived, or go out dancing. So unless you're one of the few pulling the strings on this choking planet, you might as well say fuck it and dance.

If you have never heard of Planet P, you really do owe it to yourself to seek them out. If not for the poignant lyricism, the deft and soaring guitar work, the social and historical relevance, or the sheer infectiousness of the music itself, if not for any of those reasons, do it to support a man who has been a visionary for over 25 years, and who somehow continues to make some of the most engaging music out there. While I might not suggest starting with Levittown, that is in no way a slight to its brilliance. And no, it is not dependent on the previous releases in any critical way. But go over to Amazon and grab 1931 first, and then let Levittown be the crescendo. Listen to them back to back and see if something doesn't shift inside you.

And then you can wait with the rest of us, until Go Out Dancing Part 3 arrives, hopefully before the collapse of civilization.


Official Site:

Levittown background (wikipedia)

Order Planet P Project- Levittown


marillion- happiness is the road
tilt- million dollar wound
mickey simmonds- the seven colours of emptiness
ukz- radiation
pain of salvation - scarsick
icon- icon II, icon live
the pineapple thief- tightly unwound
planet p project- levittown (go out dancing part II)
nosound- lightdark
dengue fever- venus on earth
art of all- morgan
marillion- somewhere else
abigails ghost- selling insincerity
blackfield- blackfield II
damien rice- 9
the who- endless wire
the beach boys- good vibrations
the pineapple thief- little man
the killers- sam's town
tom petty- highway companion
hem- funnel cloud
emm gryner- the summer of high hopes
jeremy enigk- world waits
razorlight- razorlight
gps- window to the soul
iron maiden- a matter of life and death
thom yorke- the eraser
richard butler- richard butler
the flaming lips- at war with the mystics
ray davies- other people's live
david gilmour- on an island
nosound- sol29
jackson browne- running on empty 5.1
neal morse- ?
king crimson- 21st century guide to king crimson
shriekback- cormorant
depeche mode- playing the angel
pallas- the dreams of men
my morning jacket- z
riverside- second life syndrome
roger waters- ca ira
various artists- backs against the wall
riverside- out of myself
sigur ros- takk
killers- hot fuss
queen + paul rodgers- return of the champions
journey- generations
yes- the word is live
emmylou harris- heartaches & highways
van der graaf generator- remaster series
rob dickinson- fresh wine for the horses
annie- anniemal
dredg- catch without arms
foo fighters- in your honor
dream theater- octavarium
belle and sebastian- push barman to open old wounds
the go-betweens- oceans apart
porcupine tree- up the downstair (remaster 2005)
coldplay- x & y
nine inch nails- with teeth
aimee mann- the forgotten arm
van der graaf generator- present
christopher o'riley- hold me to this
glen phillips- winter pays for summer
new order- waiting for the siren's call
ben folds- songs for silverman
john doe- forever hasn't happened yet
trashcan sinatras- fez
adrian belew- side one
kaki king - legs to make us longer
longview- mercury
stereophonics- language. sex. violence. other?
for against- echelons
over the rhine- drunkard's prayer
kathleen edwards- back to me
kasabian- kasabian
porcupine tree- deadwing
the wedding present- take fountain
super furry animals - songbook
arena- pepper's ghost
snow patrol- final straw
rpwl- world through my eyes
tori amos- the beekeeper
kino- picture
monarch- the grandeur that was rome
spocks beard- octane
the wonder stuff- escape from rubbish island
richard barbieri- things buried
the pineapple thief- 12 stories down
the pineapple thief- 8 days later
the innoncence mission- now the day is over
zero 7- when it falls
pain of salvation- be
california guitar trio- white water
jelly jam- 2
tim bowness- my hotel year
van halen- the best of both worlds
glen burtnik- welcome to hollywood
charlie mars- charlie mars
porcupine tree- voyage 34 (2004 remaster)
saint etienne- travel edition
lanterna- highways review
hellboys- cha cha with the hellboys review
persona non grata- the fine art of living review
tegan and sara- so jealous review
guadalcanal diary- 2x4 reissue review
voices in the wire- signals in transmission review
roger waters- to kill a child/ leaving beirut review
luna- rendezvous review
jim white- drill a hole in that substrate and tell me what you see review
the drive-by truckers- the dirty south review
the blue nile - high review
lovedrug- pretend you're alive review
twilight singers- she loves you review
keane- hope and fears review
winds- the imaginary direction of time review
kristeen young- x review
asia- silent nation review
macha- forget tomorrow review
crystal method- legion of boom dvd-audio review
kevin moore- ghost book review
marillion- don't hurt yourself singles review
attrition- dante's kitchen review
rush- feedback review
tortoise- it's all around you review
division of laura lee- does not compute review
peccatum- lost in reverie review
iq- dark matter review
bass communion- ghosts on magnetic tape review
the push stars- paint the town review
virgin black- elegant... and dying review
marillion- marbles review
the streets- a grand don't come for free review
the veils- the runaway found review
all about eve- let me go home review
john young band- live review
mary lou lord- baby blue review
the divine comedy- absent friends review
pink floyd- the final cut (2004 remaster) review
prot-kaw- before became after review
jeffrey gaines live review
mocean worker- enter the mowo review
starsailor- silence is easy review
pineapple thief- variations review
lloyd cole- music in a foreign language review
david sylvian- blemish review
spock's beard- feel euphoria eview
guy manning- press pack sampler review
magellan- impossible figures review
the tangent- the music that died alone review
john gorka- live from grace church photos and review
hothouse flowers- into your heart review
charlotte martin- on your shore review
rasputina- frustration plantation review
stellastarr*- stellastarr* review
vast- nude review
sparks- lil' beethoven review
the damnwells- bastards of the beat review
dave gahan- paper monsters review
king crimson- power to believe review
fish- field of crows review
porcupine tree- in absentia dvd-audio review
new model army- great expectations review
antimatter- unreleased 1998 - 2003 review
catie curtis: dreaming in romance languages review
the gathering- sleepy buildings review
twilight singers play blackberry belle review
vienna teng- warm strangers review
opeth- lamentations dvd review
courtney love- america's sweetheart review
blackfield review
anathema- a natural disaster review
nearfest 2003 coverage
neal morse solo photos- metuchen, nj
porcupine tree broadcast
alpha- stargazing review
david sylvian at the tla
emm gryner at the point
barry andrews at the tin angel
tweaker:2 am wakeup call review
cure- join the dots review
fish live from the tla with john wesley
spearhead- everyone deserves music review
miles hunt (wonderstuff) live

full archives coming soon!


Studio M Live
818 North Market St, Suite 2R
Wilmington, DE 19801



Copyright © 1997-2004 Studio M Live, Inc. All rights reserved. All content on is owned by Studio M Live and may not be reproduced without written permission. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this policy. If you are looking for Custom Injection Molding you are at the wrong site, and should really be at Applied Tech Products.