Album Cover
The Plastic Constellations


The Plastics brave the wild frontier of a rappier indie-rock with their nicely crafted Mazatlan. They go where few bands dare (or want?) to go on the 38 minute album. The hesitation many will approach this album with is surely understandable. The commercial twin of this genre has been loaded with such disgusting acts as to almost write off the genre as entirely worthless. After all, it is possible to hear a little Kid Rock in Mazatlan at a superficial level. Superficial being an insignificant similar vocal aesthetic (unaesthetic?). Which, will leave many listeners wondering if they should fist-pump to the album or ship it off to the garbage dump. And there's many arena cock-rock passages and meanderings in the album to delight those about to rock!

Musically speaking, (music? review?) the album is chorus-centric and doesn't really offer the listener many surprises in all eleven tracks. Guitars cascade distort nicely, then follow the lead vocals, dropping in and out of call and response. This is all stuff done by indie-rock bands last decade in a more sophisticated manner or at least more interesting schematic (Fugazi, Built to Spill, GBV, Sonic Youth, et al). The album is saved from depravity by forgoing the "Hate." Can you remember the "I Hate <fill in the blank>" bands from high school? Mazatlan would almost fit snuggly into that category had they written their lyrics with less wit. But, they-so-wise, they even warn against such pitfalls, "The world ain't gonna do you no wrong for awhile/ So for goodness sake kids, just buck up and start to smile." Now, obviously it's easy to read the sardonic undertones in that passage (especially if they're highlit) but THAT's interesting. And makes a good point that the world will knock ya' around a little but that's life. And painting your fingernails black is just way too cliché, to be cool. The Plastics dance around teen-angst without drowning into it.

Finally, the album realizes it's own irony and satirizes itself with the words, "Evil groove, attitude/evil groove, Plastics crew/Evil groove, fossil fuel/Awesome dude/ we're awesome dudes." The problem is that they will never be remembered as awesome dudes. Which I think they realize. The cover art says it all. The PC's are dressed in mock labor-class uniform showing way too much exuberance for a rock band. Besides, there's a portly guy in the band that doesn't make up for his portliness with Xtreme tuffness. To top it off he's wearing shorts instead of pants, shorts being vastly the inferior in rock fashion. I usually hate to analyze cover art to such a degree but like a title, the package can give hints to the context of the music. The context the band seems to be asking for is a little bit of leniency, forgiving and humor when approaching Mazatlan. And humor is like the thirty-second step in recovering from being a teenager in American high schools.

Jacob Daley

Track List

  1. We Came to Play
  2. Evil Groove
  3. Beats Like You Stole Something
  4. Davico
  5. East Cleveland
  6. Movement Monentum
  7. Mazatlan
  8. Oh No, Iowa
  9. Vicious Devotion
  10. No Complaints
  11. Keep It Live