The Plastic Constellations - Let's War
Blood of the Young


I don't often have time to listen to an album twice a day, so when I find
myself listening to the Plastic Constellations debut album two to five
times daily -- I'm as impressed as you are.

"Let's War" opens with one of the album's best songs, "Ditched and Drowned." This song gives somewhat of a false impression of the album -- it sounds kind of like Braid and Nuzzle are collaborating. It will draw you in, but if you are expecting 10 more tracks of this, you'll be quickly dissapointed.
"Slow Support" truly sets the tone for the rest of the album. The Plastic Constellations, from here on in, sound like an updated version of Pavement. The vocals don't stray too far from Stephen Malkmus' squeaky vocals of older Pavement albums. In fact, in striving for vocal comparisons, I would have to say that the closest I could come would be to cross Malkmus with Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments' Ron House and you'd have something close to what is going on here.
Musically, The Plastic Constellations play loose indie rock like Pavement delivered for years, but with a very modern sound, incorporating that dissonant element that everyone likes these days.
"Back It Up Now" shows that not only do the Plastic Constellations know how to rock but that they want to see you shake your ass at their shows. When the band kicks into their shouts of "M-O-V-E-M-E-N-T" I don't see how anyone in the audience could be left standing stil at a live show.
Unfortunately, the next track, "Let It Rumble," slows things down, and with the music heavily focused on a piano, loses a lot of momentum. I like the song alright, but I don't think that putting it in the middle of the album is the right place for it.
As soon as "Let It Rumble" ends, "The Backseat Drivers" brings it back to the rocking pace we've become accustomed to. "You Are Not Chicago" slows things down again, but the lack of the piano in the foreground (and the prevalence of soft keyboard in the background) actually allows this song to work much better than TPC's other slow song.
As the album draws to a close with the eponymously titled closing track, the Plastic Constellations treat us to a little bit of possibly inside-joke humor with a song about slaying a serpent and each member kicks it solo-style for a second, telling how he helped to slay the dragon. Normally a song like this would fall flat on its face, but due to the incredibly catchy nature of the music it is hard to do anything but put this song on repeat.
While "Let's War" may not be the best album of 2000, it is certainly one of my favorites. So much so, in fact, that I am thinking of driving six hours to Minneapolis this weekend just to see these guys kick it live style.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go listen to this album for the third time tonight.
...john heisel...

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