Plateaus – s/t

Rating: ★★★½☆

After a slew of catchy 7″ releases, Plateaus are here with their self-titled LP, which is absolutely refreshing. It’s coated in a bit of distortion, but it’s quick to the point and filled with hooks.  It’s a short listen, which benefits those looking for high energy on repeated plays.  Those looking for a new slice of punk in their playlist need to add this one immediately.

It opens with the excellent single, “Blackout,” which bangs out a throttling beat from the get-go, while the guitar cuts its way sharply in and out of the mix.  Vocals have a nice bit of polished sheen to them, providing an edgy bit of pop to the pummeling track.  Then it jumps right in with another heavy-hitter, “Beach Coma.”  Musically, the songs seem to dwell in a similar space, though the vocals are delivered a little bit more spoken-word than its predecessor.  These are the sorts of songs that make a perfect album opening, giving you energy and hooks, establishing the mood from the start.

But, Plateaus aren’t aiming to make this all in-your-face rock n’ roll, especially when you listen to a song like “The District.”  There’s a slower pace to the percussion and the guitars, hinting at a more classic power-pop sound–something I adore in particular. Songs like “Jump Now” and “Swamp Thing” also carry this element of polished swagger to them, providing bits of pop to the general mood of Plateaus. For me, it gives you a nice little break from the grittier moments on the record, just in case you needed that breather.

Sure, the sound of Plateaus does have a very slight tendency to get caught in redundancy, but don’t even worry about that, as there are some clear standout winners, aside from the previously mentioned tunes.  “Better Things” is one of the album’s longest tracks, and it’s filled with noisy cymbal work and a twang-ing guitar that lurks in the far off background, only to cut in with a bit of screeching solo from time to time.  It’s stuck right in the middle of the record, so it often comes in to surprise me, and then I play it again.  I also have a personal affiliation with “Do It For You,” which was one of the first songs that turned me onto the group.  While it might open with a screeching guitar, there’s an element of sing-a-long pogoing delivery to the lyrics.  Sure, the music is lo-fi and dirty, but the hook comes with the combination of the music and the vocal, drawing me in every single time.

Since San Diego has a deep-rooted history of punk rock, it makes sense that a band like Plateaus would be born from the city.  They’ve combined the classic elements of the city’s sound, using hard-edged guitars and fusing it with elements of pop-punk, creating a sound that allows you to tap your toes, sing-a-long, and still bang your head.  There’s not a bad song on the record, so you can’t fail by getting yourself invested in this great effort.


Download:Plateaus – Blackout [MP3]


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