You may read some reviews, I’m sure, that will refer to this debut, eponymous album from London based PLUG as being of the ‘drum ‘n’ bass’ genre. Bollox!
‘Drum ‘n’ bass’ is Aphrodite and Micky Finn (I’m old school!) PLUG are more electro-pop than anything. Certainly the duo, Sian Dorrer and Georgie Nettell play drums and bass respectively, but there are also keyboards being tinkled by Georgie and I’m guessing this is why the accompanying Press Release mentions they are an ‘articulate drums-and-also-bass duo.’ Notice the difference?
(Got that off my chest, then!)
Whatever – this ten-track (discounting the forty second ‘intro’) album prompts two trains of thought: in the first instance, all the tracks (as stand-alone songs) are interesting and very listenable; however, after some thirty-four minutes I found myself switching off and wondering how even the immediately preceding track sounded. In an age when downloading individual tracks is gradually edging out the necessity of releasing albums, I would personally have considered releasing two separate EPS with a few months gap between.
But then, maybe that’s why I try to write about music rather than produce it.
The album opens with ‘Don’t Forget It’ which has a pounding bass feel to it, with a hip-hop style vocal delivery. It actually sounds in part like the backing music used by Sky TV’s ‘Soccer AM’ when showing certain clips, if that means anything to anyone?
‘You Keep The Beats’ has a simple, hooky chorus that ties in with the simply banged drums, while ‘Body Story’ opens with little classical sounding piano arpeggios over which the vocals are initially spoken with a touch of reverb. It’s a little bit quirky this one, mainly due to the piano lines, and reminds me a little of the kind of simplistic, but genius, stuff The Duloks used to serve up.
‘Man vs Machine’ has a heavier rumble about it. Mono-toned vocals sit across the more droned synth while the drums fire out repeater-rounds of beats. Again, the chorus is catchy. ‘Faces Of Diversity, at track number six, is the first of those that sort of escaped me, but the following ‘Sexy Coma’ is interesting. There’s something that little bit ‘darker’ about this song, musically as well as its subject matter – being the thoughts of someone being turned on by their comatose partner!
‘Real Girl’ is a bit more frantic, but lasts only just over a minute. Long enough to prompt thoughts of Tom Tom Club and ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ from way back whenever. ‘Money Loves Drugs Fame’ features scuzzy synth backing with a little ‘Flying Lizards / B52s’ overall style of delivery. And then comes a rather unique version of The Beatles’ ‘Day Tripper.’ I say ‘unique’ rather than ‘strange.’ It actually took me almost all of the two minutes and fifty-one seconds duration to ‘name that tune’ in spite of its obvious familiarity.
The album closes with the rather hypnotic, seven minute long ‘epic’ ‘Attractive,’ its background blips and bleeps merging with some lovely echoed backing vocals.
‘Plug’ may not be entirely innovative; it may not be the best album you’ll hear all year. And it’s certainly NOT drum ‘n’ bass!
But it’s not bad!
(Released through Upset! The Rhythm on 15th November 2010)
(7 / 10)