Minneapolis has always cranked out impressive music on the side-lines of pop and rock, from the Replacements and Husker Du, to Babes in Toyland and Soul Asylum, to Lifter Puller, to…
In the latest development grabbing (inter)national attention, it’s rock’s turn to ride again (in the path of Atmosphere and other Rhymesayer’s hip-hop successes) with the arty, indie rock that has cropped up over the last several years, ala Kill Sadie, the Selby Tigers, and in particular, The Plastic Constellations.
TPC are a four-piece who originated in 1996 (at half the size); and on what’s merely their third album, Crusades, they pack a hell of an energetic wallop.
The group rotates vocal responsibilities among Jeff Allen and Aaron Mader, who also jockey the guitars. Allen is the straight-forward, all-powerful ‘Jim Ward’, and Mader the experimentalist ‘Cedric Bixler’ in this lyrically proverbial At The Drive-In. Add the drum work of Matt Scharenbroich and Jordan Roske’s bass, and musically you have a dynamic group that is appropriately home on their French Kiss imprint.
Their label also boasts Les Savy Fav, Thunderbirds Are Now and The Hold Steady (incidentally containing members of the aforementioned Lifter Puller). TPC tends to sound like a sibling to all of these, while also having a Jawbox-like intensity, and yes, some ATDI qualities as well.
Stand-alone, Crusades is an end-to-end intriguing and intense record. While occasionally derivative, it is never boring. A few tracks—particularly those that have Allen dominating vocally—get a bit unexpectedly emo; but nothing that detracts enough to keep you from loving this.