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Plushgun's 'Pins and Panzers'

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Plushgun's 'Pins and Panzers'

Plushgun - Pins and Panzers

Tommy Boy Records

So Many P's - Plushgun, Pins, Panzers, Postal Service?

Thank God for The Postal Service. The band brought us emotive and soft vocals with introspective and heartfelt lyrics over gentle and moving electronica, but that isn't all. Not only did they deliver the music impeccably, setting the standard very high, but they also made it mainstream, thus opening the gates for like-minded bands to follow in their footsteps. That's why Plushgun's new album, Pins and Panzers sounds so right. To their credit, the album sounds like the follow-up we should have already had to The Postal Service.

The album begins with a small, wavy noise that barely grows in audibility before Dan Ingala's quiet and trembling voice starts the track. Ponderous melodies and harmonies overflow independently of the soft electronic beat. And this is "Dancing in a Minefield," not one of their most aggressive tracks, but when you listen to the lyrics, you may find them pretty powerful. "How We Roll" pulls up in second, the shape of the lyrics reminding me of "What's My Age Again?" by Blink 182, but being far from that annoying. The track is catchy and bouncy, talking about being high school rebels and outcasts, a.k.a. "suburban pioneers." Pins and Panzers rolls like this, from deep and introspective moments both lyrically and musically like "Dancing in a Minefield," and story tracks full of gusto as with "How We Roll." "The Dark In You" successfully pairs the two ideas, the verses cool, calm, and morose before the chorus picks up the beat and lays out some aggression as Ingala sings "I found the dark in you." Of course, for a good example of just how deep this group can go, the tail of the album, "An Aria," shimmers along the ears pensively and beautifully, a slow beat accentuating the keyboards as the rising swell of the orchestration drags you along.

Partying With Plushgun

The party tracks of the album are just as enjoyable, "Just Impolite" for instance, being lyrically cute enough to be memorable ("I walk the line like Johnny Cash") and musically upbeat and somber. The percussion pulls it through, making you nod your head in time. "A Crush to Pass the Time" is also tons of fun, the instrumentation providing an atmospheric background for Ingala's very new wave sounding vocalization. An interesting counterpoint to the album, while also being way too fun for its own good, "Let Me Kiss You (And I'll Fade Away)" thrums along in a pop-folk dream, strummed strings on what sound like ukeleles giving strength to the hand clap percussion, snaring you inevitably.

Summary of Plushgun CD

This album is just good. Yes, Plushgun has work to do, because there are some down points. The mood of the album never really rises higher than "Well I'm sort of glad...?" which could be a downfall in the ears of any listener with attention problems, but if you can overlook that, this may be the first "must have" of 2009.

Released February 17, 2009 on Tommy Boy Records.

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