Wednesday, February 19, 2014

EP Review: The Plastiscines - Black XS


When The Plastiscines released their brief but feisty debut LP 1 in 2007, it was a kick to hear Parisian teenagers so adroit at performing American style garage rock. 2009’s About Love included a few forays into techno pop, but overall, it still rocked. The Plastiscines haven’t recorded much since then, and lost and/or changed a few members along the way. The five cover versions on the recently released Black XS EP (available on iTunes) find lead vocalist-guitarist Katty Besnard, bassist Louise Basilien, and drummer Ana Vandevyvere now pursuing a sound that falls somewhere between rock and techno pop.

Their take on Lana Del Rey's “Blue Jeans” is an energetic mix of guitar and keyboards, anchored by Besnard’s powerful vocals. Her singing is more playful and rendered in her native French on a slinky version of French singer Caroline Loeb’s “C’est La Ouate.” “Murder On The Dancefloor,” originally recorded by U.K. artist Sophie Ellis-Bextor, is fueled by Basilien’s pulsating bass playing, and an alluring version of “Sexy Boy” from the French duo Air also exudes an authentic 1980s vibe. An unplugged romp through Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is a surprising and breezy bit of fun. I’d prefer to see The Plastiscines recording original garage rock songs or covering them, but if Black XS indicates a new direction, it definitely has its charms.

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