Plastic Mastery

Before the Fall

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Plastic Mastery has a truly original grasp on the boundaries of pop music, and by incorporating everything from orchestral indie ballads to fuzzed-out, high-speed rock antics (all in the first song), it's easy to get caught up in its melodic craftsmanship. Hints of Built to Spill pour out of the slightly nasal vocals and curious but effective songwriting, and there's a definite Guided by Voices feel in the vast variety of material on the record. These are the kind of upbeat tunes that have owned college radio for years, and there is really no reason that any of these tracks couldn't be a hit for Plastic Mastery. In the late '90s, this act would have fit in perfectly with the Elephant 6 crew, as its innocently giddy approach is presented alongside some surprisingly experimental sounds and quality recordings, but unlike the clique of bands in question, these folks can also toss out some mature compositions that stray from the usual Beach Boys obsessions. Even in the most stripped-down moments on the record, Plastic Mastery retains total control, and as the record wears on, the intensity of the material becomes even more captivating. This record is a hidden treasure that at least deserves a listen from any impressionable indie enthusiast.