By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)
While their influences may not be anything against the norm, it’s natural for any band to show admiration for the likes of Radiohead, London act Plastic Barricades are more than just a band trying to replicate the sounds of their peers. Over Mechanics of Life and its 11 tracks, the alt-rock outfit find themselves channelling an almost chameleon-esque trait of blending themselves into whatever the situation calls for.
When they need to be moody, like during the intro of Half Your Soul, the band are ambiguous as to how the rest of the track will go, adding piece to piece with true restraint as opposed to splurging it all at once. Even if the chorus feels so juxtaposing that it could be regarded as out of place, the following bridge and climax all continue the broodiness that the band really excel at when the album needs or wants it.
Indie-rock seems to be Plastic Barricades bread and butter, something that is shown from the get go with How Goldfish Grow: it may not be breaking any new ground but with a strong resemblance to Foal’s debut record and its pin point instrumental accuracy, it’s definitely a strong start. It’s during this song that the band’s vocals also become more apparent for better or worse: there’s a definite charm to Dan Kert’s pipes, especially when it’s paired up with such peculiar lines about sea-life and evolution, and it doesn’t act as a hindrance during any songs though there’s a distinct delivery at certain points that will either having you scratch your head or lapping it up like a dehydrated animal at a lake.
For a debut album that has been in the works for quite a while, shown by some older singles making their way onto this LP, it can feel somewhat safe or even dated depending on your opinion when it comes to the current state of indie rock. With that being said, it would be a lie to say there’s not a lot to take away from Plastic Barricades and their music: whether it be the peculiar, strangely alluring vocals or the versatility shown throughout, Plastic Barricades show the endurance and potential to make a name in an over saturated genre.