Monday, April 18, 2022

PLOSIVS - PLOSIVS - Red Vinyl & Black Vinyl (/200)


Swami (2022)

Before I get into this wonderful, wonderful album, I just wanted to mention that as the release date of the record approached, I tried to read some reviews on it to see what others thought.  The sheer amount of awful websites that copy and paste the press release and pass that off as a review is staggering to me.  It makes me wonder if any of them even bothered to listen to it.  

It's very easy to write that John Reis is also in Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu, Night Marchers, Sultans and more while pointing out the Rob Crow has history in Pinback, Thingy, Heavy Vegetable and others.  Throw out that Atom Willard used to drum for Rocket From The Crypt and has spent time in Against Me, Special Goodness, Offspring, etc.  And Maybe Jordan Clark will get a mention for his work in Mrs. Magician and The Soaks.  Maybe.  

Look at that.  I just filled up an entire paragraph without actually saying anything.  I'm not going to pretend that I'm a great writer with anything particularly useful to say.  Anyone who reads this dumb website knows I just blather on about records and often I write more about my relationship to said record than any intricacy of what the record sounds like or is trying to convey.  But I'll be damned if I just copy a press release and pretend I wrote it.

Diatribe aside, what you need to know about this PLOSIVS record is that it is unbelievably great.  Mind-melting perfection.  I have been a Swami devotee since about 1994, when I first got my hands on a borrowed copy of Circa: Now.  Since then I have joyfully followed John to every band he has been a part of, loving every single thing he's ever touched.  There's always been something about the way his songs come out that really connect to my ears.  But even with all of that history and the insanely lofty expectations that come along with it, I was shocked by just how completely, ridiculously amazing this PLOSIVS record is.

You've got some of John's familiar aesthetic here for sure.  The chugging guitar riffs that drive the songs and the intricate breakdowns that crop up and veer off into unexpected territory that miraculously makes perfect sense when it reconnects back to the main song structure.  But as familiar as you might be with the tricks of John's trade, adding Rob Crow to the mix just blows up everything you thought you knew.  Rob's complete mastery of vocal melodies and innate ability to cram a hook into a song that maybe wasn't expecting one elevates PLOSIVS into mythical territory.

I could go on and on and on about how much I adore Hot Snakes and Night Marchers and everything that John has been involved in, but this truly is one of the best records that has his name on it.  Sure, Rocket will always be my favorite band he's done, but I'll put this PLOSIVS record up against anything he's done in the past, I don't know, twenty years?  And that's twenty years filled with some of the greatest albums I've ever heard in my entire life.

I am a pretty big Pinback fan, I have all of the records and listen to them regularly (especially Summer In Abaddon), but PLOSIVS is probably the best thing Rob Crow has ever released in my humble opinion.  There's an energy and a propulsion that I think is bringing out the best in him.  I know that Atom is an incredible drummer and hearing him with John again is rekindling a magical connection.  Pairing Atom with Jordan on bass gives these songs a depth and a vigor that reminds me a little bit of how Mark Trombino and Mike Kennedy created something really special in Drive Like Jehu.  PLOSIVS has a completely different vibe than Jehu, but a killer rhythm section making songs magical is something they very much have in common. 

There are two versions of the LP.  The red vinyl is the regular edition that you can get at your local record store or online retailer of your choice.  Once again a Swami related band has the black vinyl as the more limited version.  So far it has only been available directly from the band at shows.  I got my copy when I saw them play in Philadelphia.  An unsurprisingly wonderful show.  I am not positive that the black vinyl is limited to 200 copies, but if the quantities of other limited Swami releases are an indicator, I'm going to make an educated guess and just come back and correct it if I find out other information.

I don't know who is still reading at this point.  If you come to this website, you probably are naturally inclined to like something like PLOSIVS.  I don't know that anything I write is going to make you listen to this record if you weren't already planning to.  But what I can say is that this is hands down the best album of 2022.  It's probably the best record I've heard in the last ten years and I'm saying this with only about a month of listening to it.  It's kind of crazy just how completely I've connected with this record.  I love every second of it and can only wait, hoping for more.  I have read that they've already recorded a lot of their second LP already.  I would be happy to get two PLOSIVS records in a year.  I'll take that every year.



  1. Great review,some truly informed piece of work! Enjoyed reading it, the info on the black vs red version was nowhere else to be found.