Regular Fries

Blueprint for a Higher Civilisation

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With the ambitious British collective Regular Fries at the helm and a lofty album title to boot, Blueprint for a Higher Civilisation sounds like it should be a winner. Unfortunately, Blueprint finds the Fries coming up short for the most part. Conceived as a mini-album and recorded in about a week's time, it may be proof that they do their best work without the self-imposed limits of time. That is not to say that Blueprint is devoid of any select material that carries the torch of the Fries' brand of skunk rock sounds and electronic rhythms that they developed so remarkably on Accept the Signal and War on Plastic Plants. The album begins with a bang (both literally and figuratively), as the booming sounds of the brief instrumental title track give way to one of the album's highlights, "Big Bang," whose melody echoes Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "You're All I Need to Get By" and a finale that includes the sound of an explosion. Aside from the acoustic-driven folk-like ballads "Weird School" and "Nothing On TV," the fireworks stop there, as the rest of the album lacks the exciting and memorable moments that Regular Fries have provided in the past. Songs like "United States of Mind," "Emotional Plane Crash," and "Pink India" exhibit typically interesting grooves, but they forego melodies in favor of rhythms, leaving them stuck with not enough variation before their quick conclusion. The Fries also take a step back musically on "Soft City" and "Sister Universe," both generic rock numbers that sound somewhat out of place with the rest of the group's catalog. While Blueprint for a Higher Civilasation may not represent Regular Fries at their best, it is still a decent effort for enthusiasts while they wait for the next proper serving.

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