REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha
The legendary Plaid return with new LP
Warp Records finest Plaid release new album, Reachy Prints, on 19 May with fresh material and the same understated exuberance that makes this British electro duo so deliciously exciting.
Plaid - Reachy Prints out 19 MayPlaid joined the ranks of Warp Records along with Squarepusher, Aphex Twin and Brian Eno to release second album Not For Threes in 1997. Since then, they've gone on to release a further eight albums - two of which are soundtracks to Michael Arias' anime movies. The twosome have been quiet since their last release, Scintilli, in 2011 which peaked at 167 in the UK charts. Now with electronica and dancing music being very much in vogue, it seems like a good time for the pioneers to show the newbies how it's done. The nine track album opens with OH. Not sure why it's shouting at me, but I like it. It's ethereal broken beat takes you on an unexpected journey. It takes you where you don't think you should go, but to effective affect. There's a touch of the Four Tet and a Hacienda 90s acid house feel to this. It leads beautifully and seamlessly into Hawkmoth. I almost feel that listening to this at home while staring at a laptop writing this isn't doing it justice. It needs to be accompanied by some psychedelic and hypnotic visuals in a disused inner city warehouse. Third track Nafovanny changes the pace of the album. There is an eerie feel of its namesake - Vietnam's largest primate breeding facility (I Googled it). It has a subtle yet dramatically frenzied feel about it and almost like mechanical monkeys are shaking the bars of their enforced brothel prison. Slam again is a game-changer in the album. This is more 80s and Tron like. In my head, I'm watching the screensavers you used to get on PCs back in the 90s - remember those? Again, just when you think the album's going one way, it takes you in a completely different direction. Fifth track, Wallet, has more of an acid-ambient feel to it. It's the sort of track you'd hear in super-trendy bars full of middle-class, sudo-intellectuals in Dalston because Shoreditch is too blah and gentrified. That sounds like I'm being mean, but in reality it's the sort of place I like going to. Matin Lunaire is more contemporary and something the kids are likely to get into. Tether for me is the stand-out track of the album. It fuses together so many sounds and feels that you can't help but go between music trance to rave in nano-seconds. Ropen wouldn't be out of place on an Aphex Twin album. It's got the same mental spookiness as Drukqs. Liverpool St isn't about cocaine, nor does it make you feel like you're on the Columbian marching powder, instead it takes you down the road to the Royal Opera House with a symphonic, fairytale ballet. This track is pretty and cute. It's only right that in an album full of surprises that it should end on such a chintzy note. Plaid can never be accused of being boring. Their albums surprise and delight, from soup to nuts. The perfect soundtrack for beers in the evening or when you're in a creative mood. 7 out of 10