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Plugs Plus

Dat Politics
Plugs Plus
(Chicks On Speed)

Oh, the crazy kids and their bleep, bleep, bloop music these days. Hailing from Lille, France, this laptop trio creates deconstructed, glitchy, pop music that is infused with a huge sense of humor and a strange fascination with toilet humour. Unlike many electronic musicians, though, they don't back away from vocals one bit, and instead welcome them with open arms before putting them in the blender on puree with everything else.

Although they've released a full-length previous to Plugs Plus, my actual introduction to the group came on last years excellent Tigerbeat6 Inc compilation with their goofy lo-fi track simply entitled, "#21." If you heard that track, you might have gotten a small flavor of the simple melodies and sonic trickery that the group is capable of, but they take things even further on Plugs Plus. After an opening track that simply introduces their name, the album launches into the stuttering "Re-Folk" in which sounds of folk and country music (including vocals, horse noises, and other oddities) are chopped up and spit out into a static-filled, romping stew.

It's on the following track "Pie," though, that the group hits their stride with one of the best tracks on the disc. Running along with some chincy little melodies and a thumping beat, vocals (which seem to center around an attack on a gastrointestional system through a trojan horse pie) by Blectum From Blechdom are sped up, slowed down, and generally tweaked in order to fit the madness of the track. The beauty is that you'll probably find yourself singing right along with the surreal lyrics yourself. As a whole, the group definitely does better work when vocals are included on tracks. Whereas "ICQ" just sort of wallows around in random noise and bleeps for 3 and a half minutes, "Tout Bleu" is an absolutely rolicking laptop pop track in which nearly every effect is tried on the vocals, nearly all of which work perfectly as the track clicks along with a pepped-up beat.

In another coup of vocalists and contributors, the closing track of "Pass Our Class" features none other than Matmos on vocals and Kid 606 on keyboard. If the aforementioned "Pie" wasn't strange enough, this album closing track (in which the main lyrics are "If you want to pass our class / You will have to show your ass") ends things with a bang. Daniels and Schmidt's vocals are relatively un-altered, while the track skitters through moments of breakbeat, synth horn silly-ness, and a closing chorus (in which everyone sings along with the above lines) that make you chuckle and/or scratch your head. Obviously, this disc isn't something that you want to think too hard about, as it's obviously about making some silly music and having fun. From listening to the 13 tracks and 40 minutes of the release, it sounds like everyone involved did just that.

Rating: 6.75