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Plastiscines: About Love

October 17, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

There are the occasions when something just makes you happy. There’s always that one context where nothing you do can make you unhappy, no matter how mundane the task is (see: reading 150+ pages of “Advanced Organic Chemistry”).

For me, those occasions seem to be accompanied by female-fronted pop-punk. The French garage rock outfit Plastiscines makes use of chunky guitars and poppy basslines to balance out a feminine flair that is just fun to listen to. To say the least, I think I’m in love with About Love.

This band is all about flair; from the album art down to the subtle background vocals that cement the sexiness of this band, there were no expenses spared in making this album a girl-punk icon. That said, in true girl-punk fashion, the feminine bit is backed up by a band that is as tough (or tougher, in a lot of cases) as the boys.

Let me go ahead and say that the guitar riffs that power this album are pure Joan Jett, and the basslines are thick, dance-y, and booming, almost reminiscent of those from the Polysics (BUT DON’T YOU DARE DRAW ANY OTHER CONCLUSIONS FROM THAT COMPARISON). Drummer Anais Vandevyvere pounds beats harder than anything I’ve heard in a long time. The overall formula of the instrumentals is as epic as The Hives (see Veni Vidi Vicious) without going into the realm of Jersey punk (you won’t find 10,000 Marbles on this disc).

So what makes this special? The vocals, most of all. As much as I love the instrumentals, I’ve placed all of them. We’ve heard punky garage rock before, and the OMG-it’s-a-girl-band craze is over, so what makes this so catchy? The answer lies in vocalist Katty Besnard. Besnard has that same sexy edge that makes Allison Mosshart (The Kills, Dead Weather) so special, but she uses it to pop ends instead of shoegaze. The difference is refreshing; we get tracks with incredible rock power without sacrificing the lithe, smooth vocal style that Mosshart made famous.

The language barrier itself is interesting. On tracks like “Camera” and “Coney Island,” the songs are entirely in French, which, as a French speaker, is pretty cool. I can imagine that to a non-speaker, a lot of the content of the song is lost, but it still sounds amazing; French is a beautiful language to sing in, though my years of conjugating verbs and identifying tenses tells me it must be a bitch to write in, which brings me to the most interesting lyric. In the song “Bitch,” Besnard claims to be a “Bitch I-T-C-H,” which, while a clever play on words (spelling? something?), also looks like a really crappy euphemism for an STD.

For this CD, start with “I Could Rob You,” then move on to “Camera.” If you aren’t hooked, just go bash your head into a wall. If you are, welcome to the club: press stop and start the disc from the beginning. It’s totally worth it.

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