Unwound's second record of noise symphonies contains some more coherently focused attempts at songwriting than their debut effort, and, on a whole, the Fugazi meets Sonic Youth in a dark alley musical theatrics really start to sound polished this time around. Tracks like the opening "Entirely Different Matters" incorporate legitimate song structure into feedback laden chunks of sound, and the more relaxed "Hexenzsene" showcases the band's ability to create and evolve understated crescendos with big time results. Vocalist Justin Trosper's pained yelling and very nearly in-tune singing punctuates the album and works quite well in the overall mix. Drummer Sara Lund also proves her worth on this record, and her pounding contributions add amazing strength to tracks like the album's brilliantly abrasive and fractured centerpiece "All Souls Day." Compared to the more technically adept work the band moved towards on later records, New Plastic Ideas isn't their most groundbreaking, but in the scheme of things it sees the band move towards a darker and more note-oriented structure while still retaining the chugging dissonance that would continue to characterize them for their next few records. After this record, Unwound would move towards some more epic and exploratory compositions, but as far as their efforts at short and sweet noise bursts go, New Plastic Ideas catches them at their nosiest and most unadorned peak.
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AllMusic Review by Peter J. D'Angelo