THE PLIMPTONS are a band that for some reason or other, I have failed to see play live at any point in their eleven-year existence. God knows why – their name appears on enough gig posters around Glasgow, so it’s not as if I’ve not been given the opportunity. (Mental note for 2011..!)
Actually, when I think about it ‘mental’ is perhaps a more than apt word to use in any connection with THE PLIMPTONS. There’s definitely a touch of ‘The Nutty Boys’ about them, for although the fifteen tracks on ‘00s Nostalgia With The Plimptons’ cover the whole spectrum of pop / punk / ska it is all presented with a wacky touch of humour.
There are not many bands that can carry this off without sounding pretentious and a bit ‘look at us…. we’re feckin’ mental, we are!’ It can so easily become tiresome. But like Madness before them, THE PLIMPTONS have found the balance between great, energetic, fun and varied music and nonsensical / flippant lyrics.
Yes – ‘Madness.’ I’d place THE PLIMPTONS alongside Suggs and Co. Just about that good!
As mentioned, the style of music is wide and varied. Opener, ‘Drink Y’Self Sober’ mixes ‘3 Chord Rocket Science’ type punk (Teenage Bottlerocket / The Vapids / The Apers) with little ska breakdowns and some cheesy Hammond organ. ‘Seaquest Dependent Pleasure Cortex’ continues in basically the same vein, but with added brass and gang backing chants.
A change comes with ‘Virgin On The Ridiculous’ where there are definite musical references to very early Elvis Costello; ‘Lonely Old Man’ has a touch of The Pogues about it before ‘Irony’ is a minute and a half of ragtime, bursting into a punk hybrid, and presented in the fashion of a pub sing-a-long!
‘Everyone Knows Everyone Else’ has a familiar piano sound as its base. It also contains some ‘classical’ flashes – all mixed with a Chas & Dave type delivery! ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Dead’ is more straight up 3 Chord punk, with chant-a-long choruses and an irresistible beat. ‘The Day My Baby Said She Hated Ska’ will be familiar in sound to anyone who has listened to the ‘Give ‘Em The Boot’ series of compilations from a few years back. It’s a ska track, as if you didn’t know – and done really well, I have to say, with the traditional organ and horns mix. The last minute or so breaks down into a lovely ‘dub’ sound. Brilliant.
‘This Is the Story Of My Self Pity’ is another with a familiar sounding melody. I think it may have been plagiarised from somewhere, but can’t put my finger on it. But everyone will recognise it, I’m sure. ‘(I’m) Bipolar Baby’ has a Madness feel about the piano flirting with the organ; ‘Ocean Colour Resurrection’ is a frantic, rousing punk song that will have crowds going crazy at the live shows; ‘It’s A Crime’ has really bouncy bass line and horns while ‘I Hate Halloween’ integrates Boris Pickett & The Crypt Kickers type vocals and theremin with searing guitar and pounding drums.
‘Away From The Zeitgeist’ is the longest track by far at almost six and a half minutes (the others rarely tipping the three-minute mark.) That alone makes it different from anything else on the album. It starts out with honky-tonk piano and mandolin, and develops through this more jazz based feel to scuzzy electro. (That one came completely out of left field, I have to say!)
Closing track ‘ We’re Gonna Out-Live You’ rocks it up in punch-the-air / mosh-pit punk style and takes a bit of a self-deprecating look at the band’s history.
Yeah – it’s all good. This to me is what music should be all about…. fast, furious and fun – and not to be taken too seriously.
(Self-released on 22nd November 2010 and available through www.myspace.com/theplimptonsuk )