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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

Plastic Constellations come to play

By Peter Farrell
Executive Editor

Friday, October 8, 2004

When we last heard from The Plastic Constellations (TPC for the initiated) they were 18-year-old music fanatics who played beat-heavy punk-rock. Raised on a steady diet of Pavement and Archers of Loaf, their debut album, Let's War, showed tremendous promise. The Minneapolis music community eagerly embraced the loud, fast and abrasive sound that characterized Let's War. Slug, from the much lauded indie hip-hop group Atmosphere, once noted in the City Pages, "This city is not big enough to hold their energy." The band was propped up as the youthful, exuberant saviors of a music scene that was far too serious for its own good. Four years later, the Best New Band of 1999 has gone to college and grown up -- some of the band members even got married. Surely, a band that's greatest strength was their penchant for fun rock 'n' roll were going to adopt a more mature, watered-down, sissy sound, right? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding no. Mazatlan, the long awaited follow-up to Let's War, and one of the premier releases of 2024 Records -- a local Minneapolis independent record label -- retains all the best elements of that album and adds a whole bunch of cool, new stuff. Infused with a heavy dose of hip-hop might, tracks like "Evil Groove," "East Cleveland" and "Oh No, Iowa" swivel and swerve with all the dance-floor power of the finest Dismemberment Plan tracks. Along with improved instrumental chops, the band also accents their newly-found hip-hop influences. For instance, a surprisingly effective rap breakdown in Movement Momentum even forces the cynic to realize that, when done right (aka not Limp Bizkit), rap-rock really can be cool with both intelligent lyrics and phat beats. (Note: lead singer Aaron Maders moonlights as Lazer Beak in the local rap coalition Doomtree.) Other highlights include the title track,which is an ironic lament on the band members' inability to get to Mazatlan for spring break. Davico, the album's high point, is loaded with swirling guitars that explode into a staggering, fist-pumping chorus. Davico synthesizes all of the band's best elements in under five minutes. The Plastic Constellations have returned to us, and this time with even more funk and fun than before. Hopefully, we won't have to wait another four years for their next batch of tunes.

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