||Cheer Up CD
Plexi albums Produced by ace alternative knob-twiddler Jeff Powell (Afghan Whigs, Primal Scream), this debut from Modest Mouse-sounding indie crew features 13 cuts, including the should-have-been-a-hit tune "Forest Ranger."
Plexi's debut is a ragged, noisy affair characterized by revved-up electric guitars, whiney vocals, and lyrics with an acidic bite. But this is artfully crafted noise, with memorable hooks planted subversively amid the electronic chaos. The chaos, too, is artfully constructed, alternating between an unsophisticated and uninhibited roar and ambient reserve. It also balances the caustic lyrics with healthy doses of irony and wit. The title of the album provides an example; Cheer Up seems an intentionally inappropriate summary of the record's angsty contents. The opening "Forest Ranger" is similarly winking, with lead vocalist Michael Angelos claiming that he, like Salman Rushdie, Che Gueverra, Huey Newton, and Phyllis Diller, is a "forest ranger." No definition is provided for that designation. The instrumentation has a creative diversity, spicing up the foundational guitars, drums, and bass with cello (on "Ordinary Things" and "Star Star"), keyboards, and toy spacegun noises. The clash between the prettiness of the melodies and the ruggedness of the arrangements creates an engaging tension throughout, and it is a difficult balance to maintain. A little too much noise and the music's superficiality begins to show. A little too much pop and the listener begins to question the sincerity of Plexi's hard rock facade. ~ Evan Cater
1996 debut album from West Coast indie band produced by Jeff Powell (Afghan Whigs, Primal Scream). Features 13 tracks packaged in a three-panel digipak in a deluxe slipcase. Sub Pop.
Recorded at Oceanway Studios, Fox Force Five Studios, Los Angeles, California; Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennesse.
Plexi: Michael Barragan (guitar, Mini Moog, Fender Rhodes, vocals); Michael Angelos (bass, vocals); Norm Block (drums).
Additional personnel: Malopa ...