May 8, 2008

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The Plastic Constellations, We Appreciate You
French Kiss Records, April 15
Regardless of their having consigned themselves to the footnotes of indie-rock history by breaking up after this album’s release party (in the wake of a reportedly blow-doors performance at this year’s SXSW music conference), Minneapolis band Plastic Constellations prove for the ages that they had a good thing going. Previously they’d been excellent copycats of fellow defunct obscurity Dismemberment Plan (think Fugazi with vocals leaning a little more to the boisterous-college-kid side and less aggression overall), but it wasn’t until this final gasp — powered by influences ranging from Jesus Lizard to They Might Be Giants — that they sharpened their approach to such a fine point that it could have been at least a Kaiser Chiefs-size contender. Fine, that may be a little generous, being that some math-rock detritus is strewn throughout, but those segues are rendered in such a way that they could just as well be interpreted as spare parts from old Yes songs. In contrast to their earlier material, there’s a lot of densely layered clean-guitar carpet-bombing (Foo Fighters-level at times), frantically yelped kegger-bonfire singalongs and unique stadium-punk. As newly minted has-beens go, these guys were well worth their energy spent. A-E.W.S.