In 2003, San Diego's Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower unleashed Dissertation Honey upon an unsuspecting crowd of jerks with messy hair. The release mixed elements of jazz and post-hardcore seamlessly, making it one of the most exciting albums of the year. Love in the Fascist Brothel is the Plot's second full length, a record that, logically, should fully recognize the group's potential, and grant them the hype they deserved two years ago.
The thing is, see, this album's kind of boring. Boring isn't a term I'd usually associate with this sort of frantic sound, but in this case, it's hard to ignore. The album hijacks that trumpet intro from Start Today before exploding as necessary, but (assuming you know what to expect) it doesn't really capture your attention until several songs later. The Plot create a commotion for twenty-four minutes, and I'll be damned if they aren't good at it, but they rarely do anything else. They never really put the commotion in any sort of context. The album refuses to exercise dynamics, and that is its ultimate downfall.
There are exceptions, of course. "Vulture Kontrol," spends time in groovy bass and spiraling guitar land before sharply veering left into quiet, melodic, two chord territory. The relative peace and quiet only lasts about twenty seconds, but that's all that's needed before the song erupts again, almost recalling the best moments on DEP's Calculating Infinity.
Two songs later, there's "Drake the Fake," the track that boasts better songwriting than any other on the CD. An appropriately fucked up guitar "riff" guides the song into one of those moments when everything stops except for the vocals. Everyone in the band shouting the chorus is effective, and the stop and start is even more so. It makes me wish I could hear what they were saying.
The album's main saving grace is the same thing that made this band stand out two years ago: the instrumentation. The use of traditional jazz instruments is just as weirdly intriguing as it was on the debut, and is just as likely to provide a kick in the ass today to anyone hearing this band for the first time. The saxophones find their way into the fray early on, and, recognizing that they are what keeps this album alive, reappear often enough to do so. Later, the band try their hand at piano smashing on "Angry Young and Rich," adding enough flavor to make this song a standout.
The use of these instruments keeps things frisky and reminds the listener that this band is, in fact, more intuitive than any similar band that uses synths instead. Unfortunately, intuition isn't enough to make this album as great as it should be, especially since that intuition was already there on the first album.
So now we're at the part of the review where I sum everything up and give the album a score. Well then. 5.0, because it's boring, but I don't actually think any of the songs are bad. 7.0, because the jazziness is way original. 6.0, because it feels less original than Dissertation Honey. 6.5, because some of the songs flow directly into each other, and I think that's neat.
6.5 / 10
The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower are a daring young band from California. The band comes together in a whirlwind of jazz, hardcore, and indie. Noisy guitars, jazzy ...
I had heard one song before getting the whole album so I kind of knew what to expect from the band. A good punk/rock type sound mixed with avant-garde jazz ...
Posted April 14, 2013, 12:44 p.m.
Portland based label Eolian Empire, recently relaunched by members of Rabbits, will release a 26 band compilation of all Portland bands. The comp, titled Keep Our Heads includes Rabbits, Tiny ...
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