RKC (Roses Kings Castles) – British Plastic

British Plastic the new album from RKC ripples with the lo-fi DIY feel inspired by the late 70’s punk rise and the electronic pop sensibilities that followed. Ex- Babyshambles drummer Adam Ficek has created an adventurous and vibrant release that brings two eras into an undeniably engaging and unique union to bring some welcome nostalgia alongside thrilling new adventures.

Originally named as Roses Kings Castles, the name having been abbreviated recently, the band was first conceived in 2007 for songs that were too ‘odd pop’ for Babyshambles, the project to be an underground base for their emergence. A debut self titled album released via his own label, The Sycamore Club in 2008 received strong acclaim, as did the subsequent 2009 Apples & Engines EP and 2010 album Suburban Time Bomb. With British Plastic also via The Sycamore Club, there is an evolution not only in the reduction from being a six piece unit on its predecessor to all instrumentation coming from Ficek apart from lead guitar from former band mate in Babyshambles Patrick Walden, but also in a bigger and bolder adventurous sound.  

The album was recorded solely in Ficek’s makeshift home studio and I guess critics could claim a naivety and at times an undefined sound on the production but one would argue this adds to the instinctive and personal feel that a polished big studio treatment would have lost. The accompanying bio to the album comments that British Plastic is an ‘aural scuffle between The Buzzcocks and The Beta Band’s resurgent hero Steve Mason’ which is a very apt declaration especially on songs like ‘I Can’t Say’ which has a distinct Pete Shelley flavour to the melodies against the mesmeric electronics and pulses. There is much more to the music here though, many classic bands and sounds fused into modern touches and additives. This song epitomises everything that is British Plastic, its electronic pop recalling bands like early Depeche Mode, The Normal and especially The The, blending with the DIY of bands like The Television Personalities and the disquiet from the likes of The Strokes.

The tracks within British Plastic are varied with the only inconsistency coming from the best songs on the album being so good they show up the slightly ‘weaker’ ones. Opener ‘These Are The Days’ is a perfect start to the release, its pop tendencies and open sounds the perfect invitation into the album’s unique qualities. The song reminded of 80’s band King Trigger with its electronic flowing sounds surrounding natural melodies and rhythms; the bass is pretty tasty too.

The song ‘Here Comes The Summer’ has already garnered attention and airplay with its fuzzed up sounds, urgency and The Cure like pop laced with a grittier approach and completes a strong ‘awkward’ pop beginning to the album. The first single from the album ‘Kittens Become Cats’ follows next. A more subdued and soulful song but no less intriguing and satisfying though maybe a surprising choice as lead track to draw people in as good as it is.

Many highlights follow, the punk vibe of ‘People And Places’, the scuzzy air of ‘Seeds Of Moscow’, and the pulsating discordant experimental delights of ‘Tapping’ all play easily and with enterprise upon the ear. It is the quick fire incessant post punk drive of ‘Cockroach’ that takes the top dog award on the album. With essences of 80’s bands The Three Johns, Swell Maps and Wire mixed in with some The Mae Shi and The Pixies, the track is a wonderful hypnotic inflamed blast at life.

Fuelled by a feeling of anger and distrust the album is a thrilling and expressive release that shows real music does not need to be polished beyond recognition to be very satisfying and stunningly effective. The more one listens the deeper the attraction and love affair with British Plastic and RKC.

Check out the British Plastic @rkcmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

RingMaster 01/11/2011

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