Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

Calgary based writer Brett Klassen doesn't only fit every Canadian stereotype, but delivers blunt and honest takes on punk, rock, and hip hop and much more in this column.

Plastic Friends – “The Lookout” (Independent)

At first, I thought I was going to love Plastic Friends’ second album, The Lookout” but I was left severely disappointed from the absence of one important element that could’ve made this album amazing instead of extraordinarily mediocre. The band is exceptionally talented; Matt Long’s work on the guitar was beyond incredible, seamlessly implementing a Motley Crue-esque solo within a funk fueled melody on “From Here,” bassist Phillip Ryerson’s ferocious bass work that helps drive home Long’s heavy and aggressive riffs in “Mask” is impeccable, and Nate Harrison’s ability to be a constant powerhouse on the drums throughout every track. Every song is tremendously appealing, but the vocals by Will Perkins are exceedingly hit and miss, causing boredom at a massive rate. The lack of power and abundance of vocal flatness really killed my amusement, it just doesn’t fit with the high intensity guitar riffs and the in-your-face drums. In “White Mirror” there is a subtle note of The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” that’s bombarded with stretched out lyrics that sucked all my enjoyment out of the song, which is a damn shame since the track started out so strong. The lack of exciting and electrifying vocals that I thought were going to accompany the vigorous melody brought down the whole album for me, it made every track boring and frankly hard to listen to. It was a bummer to see that trend throughout the whole album.

LA FLEUR FATALE – “Bound To Nowhere” (Lovely Records)

It took me only one listen to be sold on La Fleur Fatale’s fourth EP "Bound to Nowhere." The Swedish band delivers a beautiful mix of Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper-type psychedelia with the modern power of OK Go. Each song takes on a different tone, sounding increasingly more different and unique than the next, from fast paced abrasive rock, to melancholic pop fueled by a jaw-dropping melody. “Suicide” kicks off the EP with sharp guitar work and a rapid drum beat with a hint of The Door’s psychedelic organ that had me unexpectedly excited. The band spares no time to slow things down in a surprisingly great way with the next track, “Wasted Ghosts,” a gloomy and acoustic tune that’s accompanied by the spectacular voice of Alexander Vibeck. Out of the four songs, “Strange Flowers” was the one that stuck out to me the most. The opening seconds to this track are almost trance inducing due to the psychedelic key stroking of pianist and organist David Drejstam. I fell in love with higher pitch notes in the chorus, reminding me of the peaceful melody of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” They capture the essence of what psychedelic rock is in this track, which is by far the most mind blowing song on the EP. The first three songs floored me with the versatile and unique sound they each presented, but their closing track, “Drift Away,” misses the mark with a generic melody, and overall plainness. It’s an alright song, but I was hoping for something with the same energy as the previous tracks. Despite the rather underwhelming ending to the EP, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it and can’t wait to see what they have in store.

SHREDDERS – Great Hits (Doomtree Records;

When it comes to rap, I usually don’t listen to what current artists are putting out, since the majority of it sounds the same, none of it particularly piques my interest. Shredders’ second album, Great Hits, almost gave me hope in the new age spitting bars, but gave me disappointment instead. The album starts off strong with an aggressive house beat and rhyme spitting that can only be compared to Logic or Eminem in ‘Suburban Base.’ The group tried to keep it going with the next track, ‘Vanilla ISIS,’ but misses the mark with a lack luster hook, which does the opposite of what hooks are supposed to do. The flow that MCs Sims and P.O.S deliver are in your face, hostile, and downright irresistible, but gets separated by a hook that is less exciting and attention grabbing than the build-up. The somewhat dull hooks are a reoccurring theme throughout Great Hits, but not with the third track ‘Ayeyayaya.’ The song has a beat that reminds me of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Opps’ mixed with the consistent rhyme intensity from Lil Dicky’s ‘Bruh’ which instantly grabbed my attention and was the only song that could do that for its entirety. There was not even a second of this track where I thought it would slow down, it was non-stop energetic excellence. The last four tracks, ‘Shadap You Face Pt. II,’ ‘Young Bros,’ ‘Chips,’ and, ‘It Was Written…Again” sound so similar to each other and the previous three songs that I had to check to see if I was listening on repeat. The beats dramatically stay the same, making the rhyme flow painfully repetitive despite having entirely different lyrics. Great Hits was mainly a miss with only two songs that stuck out from the rest.

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Music Fanzine - Jersey Beat