CRIMINALLY underrated band. How’s this for a sonic cocktail: jazz-infused (!) post-hardcore/post-punk/post-everything/noise rock, bookended by spoken word poetry backlined by synth, and serious homo-erotic/sexual overtones.
If that doesn’t grab your attention, nothing will.
For a visual representation, here’s this:
The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower were such an enigma to me, man. I only got to see them once, supporting The Blood Brothers, and that was enough to sell me on them. They only released two full-length albums: Dissertation, Honey on Happy Couples Never Last, and its follow-up on Three One G (The Locust, etc.), Love in the Fascist Brothel. There is rumored to have been a seven track mini-album to be released posthumously. That was 2008 – Saviours and Suckers has yet to be released.
If Justin Pearson or anyone from Three One G ever reads this: please, PLEASE release it. One song was put up online after the band’s break-up, but no further mention was made and it’s been half a decade. I’ve emailed 31G, so we’ll see what happens, but I’m not holding my breath.
Anyway, in spite of that hiccup, when I want to listen to something that is both beautiful and destructive, I can always rely on Plot. Brandon Welchez plays double duty for the San Diego-based band, performing vocals and saxophone. This album reaches its jazz peak with “Attached to the Hip,” is sexiest on “Circuit,” and at its very best with “Safety is Of.”
It should be noted up front here that Dan Maier’s bass work on both Dissertation and Fascist Brothel is… downright insane. Throughout Dissertation, Maier’s lines and tone are so thick, it put me on my seat. I tried to YouTube “Safety is Of” for its ridiculous bass line just over a minute into the song; alas, it doesn’t exist (also criminal). Nevertheless, you’ll have to trust me and get the album.
Sadly, Maier’s replacement, Willy Graves, took his own life in 2008, so we won’t ever get to see his brilliant work on any Crocodiles (the post-Plot offspring of Welchez) records, which is sad.
The guitar work on this record is no slouch either, alternating messy/raw with clean but fast. “Her Health Violation” is the closest this album comes to any Bonehead song (see: “Naked City”). If you stuck around the whole way through the movie (I commend you for that, it was tough), you got to hear the song to which I am referring.
As I said, the album mixes it up with three interesting asides: the first (“Exhibitionism”) and last (“Monotonous”) tracks, as well as an instrumental interlude (“It’s in His Kiss”). Poet Kailani Amerson reads what I assume to be two of her original works. It’s a really different approach to a punk rock album, and while I won’t claim to know the connection between her and the band or why they deemed this particular venue appropriate for her work, I commend both parties for their efforts – and frankly, it works. For whatever reason, it just does.
Dissertation is 10 tracks of chaos offset by refined, Rhodes-esque keys on Amerson’s spoken word tracks. I often waffle between this and its older brother Fascist Brothel over which one is my favorite Plot release. As it stands right now, Dissertation holds fast to the throne.
Such a unique, passionate band amongst clones. A must listen!
From Dissertation, Honey, here’s “For Marcus” –
Standout tracks: “Safety is Of” and “For Marcus”
Weakest track: Enjoyable throughout.
RIYL: Experimental punk, jazz punk. Bonehead, Drive Like Jehu, early Faint, early Blood Brothers, Crocodiles, John Zorn.