Album Review: Plaids

Plaids are a four-piece punk band from Nottingham. The band are an important part of the DIY community, as well known for running the venue JT Soar as they are for the raw intensity of their music and electric live performances. We got the chance to review their first full length which will be released later this month with a European tour in support of the album.  It is a strong addition to their catalogue of splits, EPs and singles.

The album combines musical styles from all across the punk rock spectrum, all packed in around a classic post hardcore foundation. This melting pot of influences is most prominent in the second track “Twenty.” With an intro riff reminiscent of Billy Talent, fast paced, heavy hitting Propagandhi style palm mute attacks throughout the song, and an indie rock on crack riff halfway through, all accompanied by angry hardcore shouts. This quick flipping between styles and ideas in all of the songs keeps you on your toes, as no riff outstays its welcome, and quickly switches to a new idea, a new style and new tone without ever feeling messy.

The overall tone of Plaids, from the lyrics to the artwork to the ethereal tones of the instruments is one of space, emptiness and solitude. The song “Twenty Five” showcases best the use of distant, warped effects and reverbs to enhance this feeling. This, along with the lyrics ‘I’m getting good at eating at night/ I’m getting good at creeping around my house’ and ‘I’m a silent creature/ I exist only in footprints’ conveys these emotions strongly, though the album will take a fair few listens to work out all of what vocalist Joe C has on his mind. Thankfully the album has enough meat musically to keep you coming back for more and discovering more on every listen.

This album is a great example of how knowledge of all technical aspects of recording can aid a band in choosing the perfect tones and combinations of pedals to convey moods and paint pictures, and it sounds like they spent a lot more than the 4 days they did in the studio. That being said, listening to Plaids still feels like they have a lot of untapped potential. This album is a spark of brilliance, which could ignite an explosion in the next few years.

Their self titled debut will be available in September on 12” vinyl/download on Barely Regal Records (UK), Art for Blind (IRL) and Dingleberry (EU). The release will also be available in the US through Robotic Empire’s distro.

You can stream the lead track “Twenty Two” here.

Posted in Bands, Record Reviews, Reviews and tagged , .

Stephen Cripps

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