Out: 8th February Label: NYLON Records Website: Myspace Buy: Amazon Being the owner of a fully functional set of bollocks as I am, reviewing About Love, the second full-length release from french indie hipsters The Plastiscines, is fraught with danger. Danger of being labelled a typical sexist bloke. Danger of being labelled racist and coming across somewhat Anti-French. Danger of even sounding down right out of touch, cynical and overtly negative. Despite this potential minefield, I strapped on my headphones and went over the top and prepared to take one for the team...
Let's get this out of the road early on. This record is going to split the vote. Some will love it. Tweeny-bopping girls will be singing into their hairbrushes and dancing along in the mirror to the infectious choruses on show here. Pubescent boys can 'enjoy' the videos in the privacy of their bedrooms thanks to Youtube et al. Then again, some will absolutely hate everything about this album. There is nothing outright terrible about this record and equally there is nothing terribly new or fresh about it either. It has simply been done better by a hundred other bands in the past. Having said that, on the positive side, what The Plastiscines can offer their listeners is a collection of very well produced guitar-pop songs with ridiculously infectious choruses. The Plastiscines are entry level pop-punk and sound more than a little like The Donnas, (perhaps unsurprising, given the album producer was heavily involved with them too).However, this is Pop-Punk for pre-teens. If Girls Aloud learned to play some instruments and spent a month listening to Green Day and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, they might start to sound a little like this. More Serena Van Der Woodsen (Gossip Girl) than Beth Ditto (girl from The Gossip) really. Whilst the tracks all follow a standard formula they have one common element, a great hook. 'I Could Rob You' is an upbeat sing-along starter which helps set the poptastic tone. 'Barcelona' is bouncy glam-pop that packs the immortal couplet of "Let's get down in Barcelona, tonight we're dancing like no tomorrow..." and there are another ten equally catchy numbers on here. However catchy doesn't necessarily mean good. Chlamydia is catchy. Whilst it would be unfair to go as far as suggesting this record is the musical equivalent of a yeast infection, it can be a little uncomfortable and grating in places. Unfortunately on more than one occasion the lyrics let the side down. Recent single 'Bitch' is a prime example. In case you are in any doubt, the lead singer is a self proclaimed bitch. Check it out here: Yes, that's right. She's a bitch, spelt B.I.T.C.H....You never caught that? Well not to worry, it's repeated 30 times in three minutes... Perhaps it's a case of lost in translation... This then begs the question... Why do they sing in polished Anglo-American accents given they are all French? The answer is pretty simple. It's a lot more commercially acceptable. Despite the fact that the songs in their native tongue have them sounding a lot more convincing, they have plumped largely for style over substance. This would seem to be an understandable decision. They are, let's face it (and cue the sexist retorts) a good looking and easily marketable group of girls. This is something that has not gone unnoticed. They are fast becoming the 'indie' darlings of fashion magazines - both NYLON and Vogue have been raving about them recently. The commercial nature of this record doesn't stop with the image and styling though and there are a host of songs on 'About Love' that are destined to feature in American teen movies starring Sean William Scott. You'll find them appearing in Hollyoaks and provide the soundtrack to your shopping experience in Topshop and Urban Outfitters... Despite my many reservations, perhaps there is still a place for this type of music. In all honesty, as a twenty something male, I'm probably not really the right age or gender to 'get' The Plastiscines, but if their music helps a few folk progress into pop-punk level two, and bypass the likes of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and co then it's not all bad. Photobucket Listen: Barcelona (Lifeline remix) Skip: Bitch Twitter Review: The Plastiscines' second album is hook filled pop punk for pre-teens. Style over substance but can it start the downfall of Miley Cyrus? Pigeonhole: The Donnas, The Gossip, Katy Perry