Album Review: Plastiscines – About Love

By on Tuesday, 2nd February 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

Having an older brother in the ’80s meant I was forced to listen to the Bangles – a lot – growing up. (It’s a bit unnerving to hear ‘If She Knew What She Wants’ and ‘Manic Monday’ come on the radio and realise I still know all the words.) Looking back, it was a good education: it proved a all-girl group could succeed in popular music on more than just good looks. So when French rock ‘n’ roll quartet Plastiscines showed up to perform in D.C. last June, fresh off of being signed by NYLON Records (related to American NYLON Magazine), I had high hopes. And from the first song played, I was so impressed with their collective sound, I knew they could be huge.

Being girls in the male-dominated music industry is tough. As a girl journo, I’ve personally been on the receiving end of comments like, “you’re just a girl. Are you for real?” and skeptical looks from bands and people associated with bands, always feeling a sense of victory after winning the skeptics over. So I can appreciate Plastiscines’ ‘so what if we’re girls? We’re gonna rock and show ’em what we’re made of!’ attitude.


Their second album ‘About Love’ is, what I hope, will help break them in the UK and the rest of Europe. It was produced by American musician Butch Walker, who worked his magic on Pink’s ‘Funhouse’ and Katy Perry’s ‘One of the Boys’ – excellent start so far, ladies. The strength of voice of lead singer Katty Besnard, along with backing vocals from the other three girls, are evident throughout the album. ‘I Could Rob You’, with its driving beats courtesy of drummer Anais Vandevyvere, begins the album off in a searing, rough and ready but engaging sort of way. I can see that this song, along with track number 5, ‘From Friends to Lovers’ (with prominent guitar work from lead guitarist Marine Neuilly), will become embedded in your brain pretty easily with its infectious chorus.

Being English, the Friendly Fires boys waxed poetic about the bright lights of Paris; alternatively, these Parisian girls have written a song that celebrates the party atmosphere of a city of their neighbours to their south (Spain) in ‘Barcelona.’ And considering its taboo title, ‘Bitch’ could have been a considerable misstep. Instead, with a heavy bass line from Louise Basilien, it’s a harder rock ‘n’ tour de force. Don’t believe me? Just watch out the video:

Halfway through the record and we get to a surprising standout: ‘I Am Down Tonight’, a gentle ballad. The girls don’t let you get too comfortable, thundering out another powerful track with ‘Another Kiss.’ And should you ever forget this is an album written and performed by French girls, ‘Camera’, ‘Pas Avec Toi’, and ‘Coney Island’ are sung in French. (I took German in high school, so should you need a translation, I’m definitely not your girl.) There’s even a nod to influential American singer Linda Ronstadt in their cover interpretation of ‘You’re No Good.’

I expected the detractors – the critics who wouldn’t ever take them seriously because let’s face it, they’re four gorgeous, fashionable girls from Paris. Who also happen to be musicians. But I hope these people take note of this band. The music world could use a kick in the pants from four girls with ‘tude. I think Plastiscines have come along at just the right time. Check them out and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

9/10

‘About Love’, Plastiscines’s second album, will be released in the UK on 15 February and can be preordered at Amazon. As previously reported on TGTF, the group will be playing four dates in UK next week with American band Cobra Starship.

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9:10 am
15th February 2011

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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