Plastic Barricades: “Mechanics of Life” brings a number of masterstrokes!
Based in North-West London, Plastic Barricades are Dan Kert on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Daniele Borgato on bass and Frazer Webster on drums. Over the last three years the band has been nominated for “Oxjam Band of the Year ” and “MTV Brand New”, voted #1 out of 222 bands participating in the Hard Rock Cafe London Global Battle of the Bands competition, won the Camden Rocks Battle of the Bands, got nominated for “Brand New Artist”, landed 2nd place in the Sziget Festival band competition and won the Enfield Battle of the Bands and Songwall’s “Songs in the Sky”. Two songs from their “Tree of Ideas” EP were also featured in the Channel4 “Hollyoaks” TV show.
No matter how much time passes between Plastic Barricades’ projects, their songwriting chops remain intact. The band has long been able to strike that delicate balance between composing complex yet lucid lyrical arrangements to match vibrant instrumentation. Prime examples on their latest album, “Mechanics of Life”, being their masterstrokes “How Goldfish Grow”, “Our Favorite Delusions”, “Needles In Haystacks” , “Medicine Man” and “Voices”.
The album exhibits a sprawling, yet homespun approach in most areas, allowing Dan Kert expansive space to really lean into the diverse sounds and let his vocals soar. His voice seems more attuned to the backdrop instrumentation than ever before. What results is what fans have come to expect of a Plastic Barricades release – tight, well-layered, and high-caliber indie pop designed to intrigue those very same people waiting patiently between each release.
There are few examples better than “Be The Change”, which builds on a steady back-beat that blossoms into a sprawling, harmonious chorus. “Around The Sun” is a lot more stratified, with warbled guitars gliding the way for an exhilarating track.
Kert delivers one of his most animated performances on “Medicine Man”, almost wailing his intent with soaring vocal performance backed by an energetic instrumental delivery by the band, who repeat themselves brilliantly on “Voices”. “Masterminds” is another instrumental potpourri – a flurry of guitars and keys impregnates the song while Kert furnishes the palate with plush and dreamlike vocals.
Throughout “Mechanics of Life”, Plastic Barricades prove that their output is always well worth the wait. The totality of the record is enough to engulf listeners in a myriad of textures accomplished via sound and words. They’re not only dynamic songwriters but they seem to constantly be exploring new, diverse methods to keep ears glued. The band’s antenna to fan expectations for the familiar as well as the unforeseen is rivaled by a precious few in the underground indie pop and rock scene.
“Mechanics of Life” has immediate urgency with its jangling guitars, shimmering keys, thumping basslines, and the clockwork drumming which matches the rise-and-fall of each melody. The songs are also an excellent example of how to tastefully adorn tracks with a subtle smattering of studio wizardry without plasticizing its emotions or chilling any of its warmth.
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