Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Plastic Tramps, a UK based rock band, are gearing up to release a new single. In anticipation, we've taken a closer look at their self-titled EP which dropped in December. Check out our thoughts below, and hear from the band while you're at it.
The “Plastic Tramps EP” begins with a bang in the lead off track titled “At Rico’s Fall”. Stepwise buzzsaw chord patterns overlay a tight bass and drum structure that sounds to be in the vein of Iron Maiden. When the vocals hit, the unique qualities of the project become immediately apparent. The vocal style being more in the way of something in an indie/alternative rock category like The Strokes provides a nice duality to the overtly metal tinged backgrounds.
“Hill Song” starts off with a spooky cave groove not unlike something from Marilyn Manson’s “Antichrist Superstar” before some slightly distorted blues vocals fade in and out, bringing along what sounds to be some tape echo style delay. Eventually the chorus hits in a similar fashion to a Rage Against the Machine tune while the vocals lift and brighten just a bit. A busy post chorus section features some psychedelic samples and a bit of solo guitar before winding down to the song’s inevitable end.
“Asylum Insane” begins with some steady repetitive cymbal work and the record’s first major chords. The intro takes on a more ethereal and psychedelic space than the previous tracks, with plenty of dark mushy reverb to sweeten things. The song gradually builds until the band explodes into a couple of sections that painted a few shades of The Mars Volta to my own ears. The band suddenly breaks toward a slower funeral riff that sounds absolutely diabolical. This section dances back and forth with the previous a couple of times before setting on any clear power chord riff coupled with some underwater vocals treated with chorus or phaser. The band trades between half time and double time, adding in what seem to be organ sounds for maximum evil effect, and leaving nothing in the table with some gutsy falsetto vocals. A sudden stop dissolves into various effect treated elements retreating into the abyss.
“Smack The Machine” starts off with a very big sounding slow churning ride cymbal drum groove, before treading into some not so subliminally Black Sabbathy swinging stoner rock grooves. The high end of the track is juxtaposed between some creepy sounding guitar lines and semi-sweet sounding blues based vocals. The devil’s tritone is an active participant in all it’s glory. The back half of the song features the group vamping against some demented sounding vocal samples of various origin, which eventually leads to a rocking chorus return. A quick end tag sweeps into a heavy reverb hangover, and just like that the record is over in the flash of an eye.
Although the record is not in my favorite style or my normal listening habits, I must say that nothing that the band set out to accomplish felt cheesy or silly. Each sound presented was done so earnestly in my view, and with skill/taste required to create a “legitimate release”. In addition to bravery and originality, it is for these reasons that I must award Plastic Tramps EP 420 evil tokens out of a possible 420.
EB: Tell us a bit about the band! What are the influences that went into this project?
PT: Plastic Tramps was born in 2016 at South Devon College. Since then we have made hopefully our final change to the lineup, the start of 2020 saw us seek Robert Wardman who has moulded tremendously well.
As far as influences into the project go, this was our first recording with our new drummer so he was a massive influence on the final sound of the EP as his drums were completely new (much better than what we had before) to us. In terms of what influenced the songs, I'll list what each song is about below!
Track 1: At Rico’s Fall
Written about a sales assistant that was gradually pocketing money from the takings at a small shoe shop, 'At's Rico's Fall' had to hit hard. The lyrics needed to be very much in your face, it was a case of 'the things you wish you'd said' and regretting never fully expressing your true feelings towards someone who had robbed over £50,000 from a family business. The audacity they had to still correct you on the things you were doing wrong while they were causing devastating effects behind the scenes. Luckily, if it hadn't been for the voice to text feature on the Apple Watch and my mum telling me to check the CCTV every time she suspected illegitimate activity, he would've never been exposed. Note: It was not my family business this happened to - my mum and I worked together for a family business.
Track 2: Hill Song
Repetitive but effective, 'Hill Song' is the message of war. We wanted a revolving bassline that would stick in someone's head, similar to the way a war veterans service can result in PTSD, just not in any way as impactful. The lyrics describe the lonely journey through war and the never-ending thought of not knowing when or how you would be killed. The chorus reads "Don't call the doctor" which are the words of a soldier who would stop at nothing to carry on fighting for his country.
Track 3: Asylum Insane
Clocking in at just under 8 minutes, this is the longest song we have recorded. As the title suggests, the song is about an insane asylum essentially, or at least our take on what life can be like inside one. The long and everlasting length adds to the exhausting and draining lifestyle people can endure inside an insane asylum. As for the name of the song, 'Insane Asylum' was too...predictable, and 'Asylum Insane' is a fantasy we have created, an insane asylum called asylum insane. Apologies for the excess use of insane asylum etc. The Asylum Insane music video saw over 1,000 views in the first 24 hours:
Track 4: Smack the Machine
For the final song, we knew it had to resolve or sum up the EP. Written around the time of the general election the chorus reads "The full force of the blue, the full force of the red'' which can obviously be related to the Labour and Conservative battle. The ideas aren't limited to that though, it could also be a simple case of comparing hot to cold, good guy to bad guy, even football teams Manchester United and Manchester City. To complete the song, we were after a piece of dialogue that would play throughout the instrumental section just before the last chorus, what better fit than the 'Orson Welles - War Of The Worlds' radio broadcast from 1938.
EB: What was the creation of this EP like? Where did you record? What was that process like?
PT: We started recording this EP in June, recording "Asylum Insane" and "At Rico's Fall" in a weekend recording session at Momentum Studios, Plymouth, we would then return in late September to finish the 4 track EP, recording "Hill Song" and "Smack The Machine". It was also a new studio that we were trialing and once we had heard the first mixes we knew we’d come back again. Our past studio experiences didn’t capture the sound we were looking for but then we found Josiah. January 2021 will see us return for the third time and record the start of our first full album.
there you have it folks! special thanks to Plastic Tramps! stay evil...