Saturday 15 January 2011

The EP's - Secret Love / Forget All I Said 7" EMI Custom 13369, 1982

For those who came in late (as the Phantom comics used to say), 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.

Secret Love

Forget All I Said

Secret Love was the EPs' last appearance on vinyl. As record collectors, it's tempting to view this single as the end of the story, when in fact it was just the beginning. The EPs continued on throughout the '80s, gigging sporadically, and even appearing on Hey Hey It's Saturday's 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.


Plastic EP said...

Hi, it's Plastic EP here.........THE EP's want to thank you for writing about our second single "Secret Love" and "Forget All I said".
I'll tell you about the songs,"Forget all I said" was one of my early songs and came to me when I was 9 years old.I remember walking to the corner of Campbell Road and Burke Road, Hawthorn east and the first two verses just came to me exactly as I sang it when I recorded the song in 1982!!
"Secret Love" I sang it on guitar in Rudy's Box Hill studio.....and he said ,leave it with me and he got one of his musician friends from his band to play the keyboards on the song.I remember putting the headphones on so I could sing.The volume was so loud in my head I couldn't hear myself sing and I still did it.I didn't know you could sing with one earphone in one ear so you could hear your voice singing to the song ?
"Forget all I said" is my favourite
song of the two. I think it should have been the A side.
I'd like to now tell you about the song make a record. The original tile was "Well you want to make a record".....Rudy said we should shorten it to "Make a record" so years later we did. There are 3 versions of this song. After we recorded our first single "AT HOME" and "THREE SPECIAL WORDS" our second single as Plastic EP and the Records was going to be
"Well you want to make a record" and "I'm not coming back". This version of "Make a record" is done in a punk style like the song
"At home" !!!
it's wild and I will post it on the net with photo's of Plastic EP and the Records as a youtube clip
as soon as I can and I will let you know the link.The second version of "Make a record" is done by Rudy and some help from someone else with me singing. The third version of the song is the one you have a link to, this is the best known released single version and it's on THE EP's first album "THE EP'S WORLDWIDE FANCLUB". This was recorded in a studio in Brighton and I did most of the "direction producing" of the song not the actual engineering.
Plastic EP and the records started in late 1979 from memory. We wore black suits.I can't wait to share the photos with you. The ep's would be very happy to send you out
our early recordings as MP3's so you can post them on your website for people to hear. Contact us at
Also if anybody out there has
any photos of "Plastic EP and the Records" performing please contact us. Talk to you soon, all the best from THE EP's

Anonymous said...