Lansing’s favorite bunch of hoodlums with hearts of gold, The Plurals, have released a new album entitled “The Plurals today, The Plurals tomorrow: A Futrospective”. Here’s a review.

I have a few contrasting opinions on this record. On one hand, the poppy and noisy blend the band is known for is in full force here. To some, it may be more of the same from the band and to others it may be a breath of fresh air in the midwest alternative/punk scene. I find myself struggling with what side of the fence I’m on. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

“La la la” is a great opener. As drummer/vocalist Hattie Danby starts off with a roll across the drum kit, the song kicks into full gear. The guitars slice through the song like a laser beam. Vocalist/guitarist Tommy McCord croons out the chorus of “la la la, let it out” with a sense of relief, which would fit the lyric perfectly. Vocalist/bassist Nicholas Richard pulsates the bass lines just enough to get you to notice them. Everything about the song makes you want to keep listening to the rest of the album.

“Life’s a Mess”, fronted by Richard, who grunts out “you only wanna talk about problems” as the guitars chop along with quick power chords. I really love the chorus here. Richard sings “the questions I’m asking myself when no one’s around/how much do you think is true?” as Danby and McCord supply the backing vocal. Really great contrast with the sharp instrumentation and soft vocals.

Probably one of my favorite songs from this album is “Crush”. Sung by McCord, I love the (again) contrast in heavy, noisy guitars and great vocal melodies. “You make my crush/I blush/but blame it on the sun” sings McCord. You can’t help but sing along. The drums keep the tempo and the bass is doing its job here. The “do-do-do-do” vocables by McCord add to the pop factor. This is just a great alt-pop song.

“Alma Mater” is the album’s quick, noisy¬†cacophony. “Just enough is all you are” is the vocal here. It takes on about 5 different personas, from the early melodic take by McCord to the screaming of Richard and the crooning of Danby. I love that the band is able to morph their vocal takes via each member’s take within a given song. It adds to the spontaneity of the band’s songs and overall creativity.

Just as the vocal is the star here, the guitars are the star on “Run”. The opening features the Plurals trademark run-up-the-guitar noise and screeching. The main guitar line reminds me of Sebadoh’s “Ride the Darker Wave” from Sebadoh 3. A great lick. As Danby takes over vocals about half way through the song, she is supported by guitar feedback. Other times, power chords. Shows the cohesiveness of the band as a unit.

I think I found the answer to my conundrum at the beginning of the review.  There seems to be the complete balance of noise and pop the band has been looking for. Their formula works wonders here, so I say, keep sticking to it. At the first couple listens, I was feeling jaded because I had heard this sound over and over again from the band. But I realize that this is what they do best. Politicians are good at selling their ideas to people. Baseball players are good at swinging bats and hitting balls. The Plurals are good at punk rock.