Burning Brides - Fall Of The Plastic Empire

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-04-07

Though Fall of the Plastic Empire is openly inspired by pre-Nevermind Nirvana, Philadelphia's Burning Brides are not just wannabe grunge heroes. As you'd expect from serious students of music (mainman Dimitri Coats and bassist Melanie Campbell actually met at Juilliard music school), their ambitions are far higher than that. Combining a churning Stooges gutter-rock with melodic 1960s power-pop, doomy metal, Jim Morrison-style poetry and the odd psychedelic freak-out, this debut album is an impressively turbulent affair. No wonder that its original 2001 indie release (this V2 version has one new track added) started a major-label bidding war.

Burning Brides simply cannot stand still, often veering between several genres during the same track. "Plastic Empire", for instance, begins with an MC5-style grind; then a sarcastic Lou Reed style vocal is interrupted by waves of frenetic guitar that suddenly drop into pastoral sweetness before rising again to a crunching metal recalling Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave". Occasionally, the band rely too much on some pretty turgid garage riffs that have been heard too many times before, but their eclectic tastes and burgeoning energy hark back to Nirvana's Bleach. In fact, they take you back a couple of years further, to when the likes of Sonic Youth, Die Kreuzen and Bitch Magnet were in their genre-shattering pomp. A fine beginning. --Dominic Wills

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