Thursday, May 16, 2013

Plow United - Marching Band LP - Mixed Color Vinyl (/100)

Jump Start (2013)

When news got out that Plow United was back together, playing shows AND recording a new album, I went in with some slight trepidation. At the best of times, big name bands crumble under the lofty expectations of a reunion and most smaller bands honestly don't even bother. Being from New Jersey I am very familiar with Plow United's work in the 90's, I don't think I could count the number of times I saw them play (Though one of my very favorite times was when they played with Porcelain Boys at the Pipeline in Newark). To me they were an important band, but it also seemed to me at the time that they weren't known as well outside of our little community of punk rockers. I was surprised when they announced their reunion and I wasn't sure what I would think of their new material.

Well, this really is a great record. Plow United have managed to keep the bulk of their enthusiasm and most importantly the speed of their songs in tact. Sure there are a few tracks that slow things down a bit and one or two that have a slight (and really, I mean slight) twang to them, but in general it sounds like a band picking up where they left off. Older, and tackling subject matter that's more important to me as I also got older. Plow United is a band that has aged with me, and while I don't feel all that old (most of the time), the things that are important to me have changed over the years. It's interesting to hear that from a band as well.

The first half of the record, in particular, is just a scorcher and by the time they get the to the "We do, we do!" hook at the end of "Cui Bono," I'm just about ready to grab a torch and a pitchfork and storm whatever castle is responsible. I tend to prefer the faster songs like "Cui Bono," "Act Like It" and album closer "Meggers." The one time they lose me on the record is on "Get Low." There's nothing inherently wrong with the song itself, but I just don't like the voice of the person singing the duet (I believe it's Mimi Gallagher of the band Nona, but it's not explicitly spelled out in the liner notes). Every time I hear the song it just makes me think of the Atom & His Rockage song "(She's Just A) Head."

That is really the slightest speed bump in a record that I am just thrilled with. When a band has been broken up as long as Plow United has, there's always that chance they won't live up to what you remember. In this case, they not only lived up, they probably exceed what they did on their last pre-breakup record Narcolepsy. Plow, stay together this time. The 30 somethings need you.

Plow United - Marching Band:

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