Highlights: I Can’t Say, Here Comes The Summer, Mother’s Pride, If The Rain Comes
Roses Kings Castles wasn’t a terribly good name to start with, but this RKC abbreviation manages to be even more annoying. Misleading, too, since browsing through the CD collection of your local record store (nobody does that anymore, of course, but still) you might mistaken them for a hip-hop outfit. Thankfully, they haven’t changed that much, but British Plastic is still a letdown after the charming little gem that was last year’s Suburban Timebombs.
Adam Ficek (who used to be Babyshambles’ drummer) is still full of infectious, inherently British melodies and good hooks, but the whole thing just doesn’t sound like a very cohesive piece of work. British Plastic seems all over the place. Lots of ragged guitar sections and all kinds of electronic effects that might work on some tracks, but sound clumsy and cluttered on others. “Tapping”, for instance, is a lovely tune made ugly by disjointed beats and squeaky guitar lines. A little like Blur’s Think Tank in that respect for me: decent melodies buried in electronic indulgencies (and, in Albarn’s case, poor guitar playing). Also, there’s nothing that could justify the five-minute length of the uneventful and somewhat irritating opener, “These Are The Days”.
But Ficek’s knack for writing addictive, seemingly throwawayish little melodies and hooklines is still very much evident on most of these songs. “I Can’t Say” and “Mother’s Pride” are easily among 2011’s most unforgettable offerings. Also, in the midst of the restless, intense spirit of British Plastic, it’s nice to discover something as gorgeous as the vocal melody of “If The Rain Comes”, which is the nearest they come to capturing the exquisite beauty of 2010’s “Bletchley Park”.
The band’s songs seem to grow on me over time, but while Suburban Timebombs ended up great, I can’t see that happening for British Plastic. I love the tunes, but sadly, there’s just not enough warmth to it.