Plastic EP and the Records debuted in 1981 with a self-proclaimed "New Wave" record - in reality a great, punky DIY single, the product of a spontaneous creative process and a desire to capture the moment, warts and all. Resurfacing in 1982 under a more collective appellation, the EPs' second single shows them pursuing a musical direction befitting of the previous 45's product information message.
A very different proposition from its predecessor, the follow-up displays a greater degree of, dare we say, "professionalism". For starters, there are drum machines and sequencers all over this puppy, which have the effect of corralling the songs into much tighter structures. The songs are more fully developed, too (one gets the sense that the band is aided and abetted here by their producer, Rudy Brandsma), but still show telltale signs of the classic EPs minimalism - the intro/outro riff of Secret Love is Three Special Words in reverse! And of course, singer Plastic EP's trademark tendency to loiter in the vicinity of (but never actually on) the note is in full effect. Add some inexplicable sound effects - dogs barking, babies crying - and things are never in any danger of becoming too, uh, normal.
Before moving on, we note with interest that the labels credit "Eric" with videos for both tracks. The videos have so far eluded us - Eric, if you're out there, we encourage you to avail yourself of Youtube.
Forget All I Said
Red Faces in 1987 (again, if anyone reading this has the segment on tape, Youtube awaits). With some line-up changes, the band still exists to this day, rehearsing and recording at its Melbourne home base. In our last instalment, we alluded to the fact that the 7" format enforced a certain quality control on the EPs' output, and noted that the culling process became less and less apparent over time. Taking their "record now, think later" MO into the digital age, the EPs' every fart is now documented and uploaded to the internet for the whole world to hear. At the time of writing, there were 100 albums - 100! - available for download, with more being threatened. Some of this material is self-described as "comedy rock", but it's often difficult to determine where the sincerity ends and the comedy begins. Where, for instance, does an amateur "Mega-Mix" of At Home fit in the scheme of things?
If Wesley Willis floats your boat, we suspect that there are some hidden gems awaiting you among the EPs' back-catalogue, but to find them you'll need to be made of stronger stuff than us. That being said, fans of the Secret Love single are advised to check out Make A Record, another early EPs composition which appears to have been recorded in the same session.
Addendum: 20 January, 2011
Ask and ye shall receive - The EPs on Red Faces, 19 September, 1987.
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