Plateaus S/T(Art Fag Recordings) Buy it from Insound
Plateaus combine the immediacy of The Ramones with surf-rock and 60’s pop melodies. At least that’s the idea. The actual experience is far less enjoyable. Fortunately, unfulfilling exerts don’t hang around to disappoint for extensive periods – most of the tracks are around two minutes. The kicking of the shit-can further down the road can only appease for so long however.
Even when the soundtrack explodes with invigorating energy, it’s impossible to subscribe to the message. The lyrics graze upon almost retro Americanisms like “catching a movie,” to rather dull conclusions. We aren’t in a society - at least most of us likely to be reading this by circumstance - that we are socially oppressed to the point where rebellion could be represented by such banal anecdotes. Nor are the oppressive religious values that were prominent for generations before us still relevant today, not on the whole anyway. You have to question what the purpose of the record is; and if it’s to be raucous and, consequently, rebellious – then it fails; because, in actual fact, much bolder and braver artists before have already achieved that for us long ago.
A real, grappling intensity has been lost in production - without doubt. On Oh Man (see also Jump Now) the screeching guitar is indeed screeching; but the casual drawl that ought to be barely audible beneath this outburst exists within the same space of sound. The energetic lead guitar is diluted and the vanity of the vocal roams directionless. Which begs another question: Why discard your most interesting asset?
In essence this record may be an homage to those artists which cleared the way but it hardly relates at all. Pretty much the entire western world has an affiliation to guitar music and it’s often a cherished element of their society - it's no longer denounced as satanic or sinful. Those days are, on the whole, behind, and as a consequence this record occupies the role of making a statement which itself believes is greatly profound, but in actual fact, is perhaps over half a century old. And, even from that point of view, never even pleases as a vintage reminder of days gone by.
The musical aesthetics are distinctly worn out and the production does them no favours whatsoever. The ideas they decided to accentuate and expose are highly regrettable. The lead guitar is ignored, the vocals are a regrettable focal point and the drums saunter on in careless ignorance. Every aspect has been either diluted or concentrated - depending upon its intensity - to occupy the same space of sound. If they have achieved one thing then it’s their name. Plateaus absolutely overwhelm this record, in the levelling sense. Everything is confined within a certain volume and collides with your senses with the same resonance. Each element drowns out the next, and therefore each idea is as worthless.25 October, 2012 - 10:18 — Matt Bevington