Love In The Fascist Brothel
The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower's newest album, Love in the Fascist Brothel, is a CD that's hard to summarize. It's punk and hardcore, screaming vocals and furious sound. It has a touch of jazz, it has screamo, it has post-punk-hardcore--or whatever you want to call it. There are guitars and drums and saxophone--oh yes--and vocals that, unfortunately, are not as easily understood as they should be. The album has Nazi and fascist imagery, terrible (albeit purposefully terrible, it seems) artwork and it runs about twenty four minutes, so it's hardly a long and arduous trip. It's more short and loud, which works well enough but certainly leaves room for a longer run time.
I enjoyed seeing The Plot in concert recently (make no mistake, they are damn good live) and much of what I wrote in that review stands in regards to the CD itself. The layering in of the occasional bit of saxophone is a very nice touch that sets this music apart from some of The Plot's contemporaries. The record is overflowing with energy and enthusiasm as the band rips through the album's ten songs. The music is full of fury and invigoration and it's a performance that can certainly be admired.
However, the album has its problems, as well. The vocals too often become lost in the music. This might be a matter of poor mastering on the record or it could be a problem with the band itself--I suspect it's a combination of the two, based on their live show. Many of the lyrics are solid and interesting, creating intriguing imagery, but they are typically obscured by the music to the point that they cannot be understood. Too often the lead singer, Brandon Welchez, seems to be mumbling in the background when he should be grabbing the listener and dragging him through these songs, demanding attention. He has a great and unique voice that mostly feels wasted on this album, shunted into the background.
There is still a lot to love about Love in the Fascist Brothel, though. It's bursting with creativity, for starters. The music is fascinating, constantly changing and shifting and morphing. These guys are never satisfied with the sound they have, constantly moving it forward, adjusting the level, changing tempo and switching up the pace. The tempo, though, typically remains a fast one as The Plot push ever furiously forward. The music is crazed and chaotic and it works wonderfully. There is a strange mix of control and chaos, of a tight sense of random noise that adds up to something greater. The Plot does a magnificent job of straddling a fine line between noise and music. They constantly assault the listener but typically do it in a compelling way.
The constant change, however, intrudes upon the ability of the songs to distinguish themselves. The album begins to blend together, with little in particular truly standing out and impressing itself upon the listener. There are moments here and there, from a variety of the songs, that do become recognizable--the frayed opening of "Exile on Vain Street" and the epileptic cowbell on the same track; Welchez's clouded voice repeating, "I'm choking on the sweet taste of honey" in "Drake the Fake"--but even with these moments, they're just snippets of songs and the complete tracks themselves mesh together with their counterparts, failing to find consistently distinguishing traits.
There's plenty to be impressed with on Love in the Fascist Brothel, but the album has its share of faults. For those who enjoy hardcore music, they may find themselves really appreciating The Plot's approach. There's no doubt that this is fascinating and original--the work of a great talent. Yet, the album burns out early, the vocals are too often obscured and unintelligible and the songs could stand to separate themselves more. I would recommend the album for fans of this type of music, but still hope for better from The Plot in the future. They have a ton of promise, without question, and it will be interesting to see how well they live up to that promise.
"Exile on Vain Street" - MP3