Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Italy - Full Moon 228 - 04/04/15

Plastic Man
Don't Look At The Moon
Black Candy Records

"Plastic Man" used to be a single from 1969 by The Kinks. Now it's also trio from Florence, established in 2012 with Raffaele - guitar and lead vocals, Diletta - bass guitar and backing vocals, Fabio - drums. We're talking new retro, but this is not a Kinks tribute band, far from it, though the inspiration stems from the merry 1960s. Plastic Man offers garage psych that according to the bio is '... influenced by beat, psychedelic, nuggets compilations and late 60's music in general...' And mixed with 'modern styles producing songs with a neo-psychedelic flavour. Their music also involves other elements like acid rock, rockabilly, surf, progressive, garage punk and stoner. The effects on voice and guitar, such as tremolo, fuzz, delay and reverb, reveal their aim: reproducing a fresh, natural, genuine and up-to-date garage psych sound.'

Which says it all, really. The album is fresh and up-to-date. Some of the songs seem to run a little slower than the bands of the 1960s would've played them. Which works real fine! And the somewhat sophisticated production also reveals this is of the present millennium. Well, sophisticated in a positive sense; here are enough rough elements to keep everyone satisfied, but the album is not recorded in a garage or in a home studio of the cheapest kind. The distortion around is meant to be distortion, not due to inferior recording equipment. An instrumentation of only the three basic instruments may be very limited in the long run of an entire album. Don't Look At The Moon includes enough extra instruments, mainly keyboards of both vintage and modern kind, to avoid that. There are twangy guitars and melodic bass more prominent part of the sound than your average garage band from the 1960s, I guess. And the drums are as steady as needed.

I played the album on a gloomy morning with lots and lots of snow around when it should have been mellow spring, and it put me in an excellent mood. The opening track "North Polar Land", with a backwards guitar loop and glowing Farfisa at the base ,was the very suitable soundtrack of the day. Other favourites include the melodic "Needle Point" with some surprising close to mellow Mellotron-sounding playing in between and the energetic quick/relaxed slow title track with excellent guitar work throughout and even include some string sounding keyboards and sax almost hidden at the bottom of the mix. "He Didn't Know" is the ultimate favourite for those who prefer vintage pop. It's another guitar goodie with an almost Shadows sounding break. "Rolling Machine" seem to belong to another decade, eventually evolves into something close to space-rock. The melodies of "Tom's Tree" and "Mike, The Center Of The World", the saxes of the former and organ of latter reminds of Madness and their vitality wouldn't have been out of place around 1980. "Sun Is Going" Mad" also has some funny nods towards Madness before it moves into gloomier terrain. Closing track "Play The Card" is a dense cross-over between garage, punk and something else with strange reverb. Fascinating sound! Otherwise we receive enough pure energy pills to keep the garage people satisfied, especially "Black Hole" and "Rolling Machine" stand out.

"Paroxetine" is another title here. It's a drug used to treat major depressions and so on. I guess the other 11 songs of the album works that way, too. Don't Look At The Moon saved my day that snowing morning when spring was in full retreat. It seems it might put the listener in a good mood any day, and nights, too. Check out the band and the album at the Bandcamp site.

Copyright © 2015 JP e-mail address

© 2015 Luna Kafé