Plan 9

Sea Hunt

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If this album were the only thing you had ever heard by Plan 9, you might be forgiven for wondering how this bland bar band had ever managed to obtain a recording contract. With the exception of an interesting guitar figure that begins "Beyond Mombasa," the tunes are all undistinguished mid-tempo rockers without a single idea in the bunch. The poor mixing job that put Eric Stumpo's gruff vocals deep beneath the keyboards and guitars doesn't help -- his lyrics have their moments, but they're all but unintelligible here. The band only breaks the metronome tempo on the sprawling title cut, a stop-and-start instrumental that lasts almost 14 minutes and brings in elements of psychedelia and jazz. It's too little, too late, and after a brief punk blast, Plan 9 goes back to mid-tempo stuff for the closer. Only completists need this album, and even they don't need it much.

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