Label: Function Records Release date: Out Now! Website: Website: Buy:Amazon First impressions are always important, in any walk of life. The split in question certainly makes for an interesting one; the copy on the mahogany digipak essentially reading ‘Lepla banet tobra lin split’. Far from being some bizarre, long forgotten language, it is of course an interestingly phrased version of ‘Plant Brain/Lebatol split’ and fittingly, the entire CD is an interestingly phrased and cerebral collection of pithily named songs. The split begins well with five Planet Brain offerings. Strangely, opening track mirror 7 instantly invokes late 90s brit-pop, or perhaps an Italian band re-imagining an Athlete cover of early Muse. Regardless, the comparisons start to slip away as Planet Brain reveal themselves to be blessed with a great vocalist, a pleasingly crunchy rock ethos and glimmers, albeit rarely fully realized, of excellence. Rollicking walls of noise, high pitched (but never grating wailings) give way to predictably but effectively subtler moments, showcasing solid understandings of dynamics and all legitimized by Marcello’s gorgeous, by this point distinctly atmospheric vocalisings. Having no knowledge whatsoever of the Italian music scene at present (my last musical foray to those shores was Linea 77...) the matter of Planet Brain’s impact, status, and relative originality become somewhat moot; suffice to say I’d be more than happy for them to grace our shores in turn. It’s immediately evident when the split down the middle peels towards Lebatol. 4 x 94 is a whole lot more rough around the edges, but juxtaposed to the soundscaping falsetto swooning of split-mates, is the better for it. Post-hardcore stylee, Jersey/U.K. boys Lebatol could well be compared (at the ever-present risk of being facile) to Minus The Bear; not least because both bands have singers who by all rights shouldn’t be any good but find their niche and know their place adeptly enough to pull it off. It must be said, however, that Lebatol skirt dangerously close to being less haphazard rock outs and more lazy dissonance. Likewise for Planet Brain’s positives, without the full course of an album to run their sound lacks any real evolution and begs a closing chapter. As an introductory split however, Lepla Banet Tobra Lin acquit themselves well. Ignoring the confusing first impressions in a shocking precedent and with blatant disregard for opening paragraphs, we’ll finish up focusing solely on final ones. By the close of Little Pieces one might not be wholeheartedly won over, even a little skeptical perhaps, but certainly curious to hear more; and that is never a bad thing. Rating: 6.5/10