|Plastic EP and the Records in 1981 (l-r): Craig, Wally, Chris, Plastic EP|
After our initial feature on Plastic EP and the Records' fantastic 1981 single, the band's frontman, Plastic EP, used the comments section to drop a bombshell: Recordings exist for an unreleased second 45. Not only that, the songs were purported to be in the style of that first single, rather than the more polished direction of its follow up. As EPs über-fans, our reaction was predictable: Holy. Fucking. Shitballs.
With thanks to Plastic EP, we're proud to present the songs that would have made up that second 45. The songs were recorded in 1981 - after the session, the band was told to return to the studio at a later time to pick up a master of the final mix. For reasons unknown, the studio never compiled the 1/4 inch master tape, the original reels disappeared, and plans for the single were shelved. ("Isn't it ironic, we recorded a song called Make A Record and we couldn't actually make one", says Plastic EP). Thankfully, the band had the foresight to record rough mixes onto cassette before leaving the studio - that cassette is all that survives from the session, and is the source of the sound files below.
The songs are even more raw than the first single, attributable in part to the unfinished nature of the recordings, but also due to a positively rude guitar sound, courtesy of new member Craig (tremolo is featured heavily on both songs to great effect, and Make A Record's guitar solo is, in a word, savage). In some respects, the recording also represents a transition between the styles of the official singles, most notably in the replacement of At Home's drummer, Brendon Pearse, with a Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine. With the tempo set just right, there is also that same freneticism that marks so much drum machine driven French punk (Metal Urbain, Dements Tragiques (human drummer, we know), Bla Bla Schmurz Group, etc., etc.).
The band considers Well You Want To Make A Record to be the stronger track - it was the first song co-written by Plastic EP and bass player Wally, and as noted elsewhere, was revived in numerous versions over The EPs' career. Indeed, it's the more immediate of the two songs, but we're hesitant to downplay the merits of I'm Not Coming Back. Its chiming piano lines are an undeniable highlight - in fact, the song is not a million miles away from The End by Just Urbain in its instrumentation and minor key.
Well You Want To Make A Record
I'm Not Coming Back
As a bonus, here are versions of At Home and Three Special Words with different vocal takes to the ones included on the first single. The released versions feature re-recorded vocals; here, we have rough mixes of the original takes. Both have some on-the-fly lyric reshuffles, but At Home is notable for including those "Na na na" lines we love so much, which were replaced with inferior real English language words in the final mix. And dig the DIY Internationale intro to Three Special Words: "Just do it!".
At Home (original vocal)
Three Special Words (original vocal)
|Craig flies the flag at Plastic EP and the Records' first gig, Coburg Scout Hall, 1981|