Thursday, April 26, 2012

The First Chairs - 2012 - Plastic & Prestige

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Creative instrumentation can spice up any type of music, whether it’s enhancing the sound or reinventing it. Don’t get me wrong: Plastic and Prestige would be a solid slice of uncompromising, anthemic rock on its own. But the decision to go in a fairly unexplored direction and add brass to the band really fills out the sound and takes it to a completely new level. Every component of this music has an affable punk charm to it, whether it’s the ragged yet dignified vocals; the manic convulsions of the guitar; the rousing brass section; and the constantly shifting, ebbing tempo, always about to careen over the edge but holding together against the odds. Sure, it’s unpolished, but damned if it isn’t even more compelling that way, almost as if the band is just messing with you to see how much they can shake you up. With or without the mindtrickery, though, this is just a jovial, uplifting experience, full of insights coming from unexpected places and with songwriting good enough to speak for the band’s conceits. These troubadors are young, but they already quite a bit to share, whether it’s about the pain of growing up or the struggle to find yourself in a world that could want nothing less. And ultimately, that’s where Plastic and Prestige finds itself: that weird space between being completely lost and moving forward all the same, and if for nothing else, I have to commend this band for fleshing out that battle with such honesty.

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