Just what is ‘Art-Rock’? Hm…? It’s a term used so loosely it can be used to describe pretty much anything, from Bloc Party *to *The Futureheads, maybe even Scissor sisters; from the music of art students to the music of people who _look _like they could be art students to the music of those with, well, an arty-looking (read: messy) haircut or logo. It’s a fluid term that really just means anyone doing something a bit, well… different.
Very rarely is it used to capture an approach to sound that is as unconventional and anarchic as the rebellious sense-screwed post-modernity of the art-world. But if post-modernist art is literally an _assault _on the senses then San Diego jazz-funk-punksters *The Plot To Blow up The Eiffel Tower *are most definitely its musical equivalent.
Smacking you back down where *The Blood Brothers *and *The Locust *last left you this is music de-structured, dismantled and rebuilt with the crazed hands of a drunken art genius and the stuttered flair of a psychiatric ward jazz band. There is without doubt a fine line between genius and insanity but there are times here when The Plot… waver so manically between them both it’s hard to figure out precisely which side they’re on.
And it’s a righteous racket, coming off like Chicago’s *Joan of Arc *on ketamin. Imagine, if you will, Tim Kinsella and co revelling in a glorious drugs-fuelled bacchanalia of ear-wrestling dissonance, these proud experimentalists intoxicated with a raw sexual energy that sees them savagely attacking their instruments, choking saxophones of their beloved jazz and strangling the piano of it’s classical roots with a blasphemous atonal beating, as in the furious ‘Angry Young and Rich’.
The 24 minutes that make up _‘Love in The Fascist Brothel’ _are the fruits of their work, a wild-eyed maelstrom of noise, clutter and deep-cut madness. As jagged comets of bass, quirky guitars and disco-molested drums fly at vocalist Brandon Welchez – and at dizzying speeds - he’s curling, bending and _somersaulting _over them like an intergalactic super hero on acid! –That each instrument rarely corresponds with each other matters not when they are connected by such exhilarating energy.
But for all it’s alarming noise, attitude, spit and fire, there sadly appears to be very little left of The Plot that released 2003’s _‘Dissertation Honey’ _album. The tuneful rush that blended so well and so innovatively with their bolshy rhythms is long gone, replaced with Welchez’s jittering imprecision and drunken eccentricity.
As such, their magic seems squandered by an ostensive desire to evade mainstream acceptance and challenge preconceptions, but while this is all good and well for the likes of Lightning Bolt, when you actually have such a tuneful gift to begin with it seems wrong to give it up for the sake of art-rock acceptance.
_‘…The Fascist Brothel’ _may well excite the art-rock lovers but those who crave for a bit of style to go with it may be left a little disappointed.
6Mat Hocking's Score