TL;DR Haiku Review:
“90’s influenced, but really in a good way, go out and get it”
Today we have a review of the new album “Mechanics of Life” from the Plastic Barricades hailing from Europe (London via Estonia). On their website, PB describes themselves as:
“Romantic and honest, gloomy and curious, melodic and melancholic … Plastic Barricades chronicle life in the troubled yet fascinating XXI century with painstaking sincerity, asking questions and trying to find the answers.”
Well, I don’t know the band like all that, so I will just stick with what I know from listening through their new album that was released this week.
At first blush, PB sounds familiar, but not consistently familiar. What I mean is: you can hear influences of different bands in different songs but it does not come off as trite or tired. There will always be room in this world for more indie-rock and/or power-pop and PB mixes things up across the 11-track LP to keep the listener engaged.
The band specifically points to: “Radiohead, Oasis, Coldplay, Muse, Razorlight, Nirvana…” amongst other bands, as their list of influences. To me, I don’t really hear much Nirvana, but I do hear hints of Phoenix and other danceable indie bands in tracks like “How Goldfish Grow.”
In other tracks, PB sounds like they would be at home in the late 90’s/early 2000’s indie-rock or emo scenes (see “Singularity 2045,” “Be the Change,” or “Needles in Haystacks”). Still other times, I hear mid-career Red Hot Chili Peppers (when they de-emphasized the funk), Blur, Bends-era Radiohead and maybe Oasis.
One of the standout tracks for me was “Our Favourite Delusions” because in my opinion it best captures the Plastic Barricade’s sound and gives subtle shout outs to their neo-90’s style. (Also: honestly, I’m glad they don’t really sound like Coldplay because too many bands have tried to do that and it usually sounds inoffensive and bland.)
Outside of the obvious British comparisons because the vocalist sings with a U.K. accent, PB sounds more like a North American band like Fountains of Wayne (but not corny). The tracks on “Mechanics of Life” themselves are well constructed and don’t sound overly produced. “This album works for me because, the band ties their varied influences together to create a sound of their own.
Also, despite the band’s self-description on their website, PB doesn’t try to be too earnest or sincere. The lyrics are also hazy enough to let the listener decide (which is what good art is supposed to do right?). Overall, Plastic Barricades is a good listen if you are into power-pop or indie-rock or whatever other label you want to stick on them.
Would I Recommend this album?
I would definitely recommend downloading, streaming, or buying “Mechanics of Life.” You can stream the new album: here.
Music video here.
I only saw U.K. tour dates on their website, but I would be down to see these guys when they come stateside.