I cannot begin to imagine trying to be goth in a high desert town like Reno: makeup melting under a hot sun and black leather sweltering even under the best of circumstances in the summer. You’ve gotta choose your flags wisely under such a hot sun: lapel pins, the odd black T-shirt. Perhaps it’s exposure to a harsh environment that makes PlasticCaves so effective and ultimately awesome: there are certainly post-punk/goth tropes throughout their eponymous debut, but they’re making intelligent choices about their presentation rather than blindly going whole hog. The stylistic overtures which the band choose—familiar guitar tones, urgency driven by an insistent rhythm section—further the songs, never thrown in for their own sake. Of particular note are the vocals, which are neither heavily affected or overemoted. So often bands showing promise in the early ‘80s post-punk department boast singers who showboat and ultimately pilot the SS Spooky into an iceberg of overindulgence—not here. The focus is on the group as an organism which delivers music (and well), rather than some theater wannabe with a cape trying to be sinister and/or spooky. Faith-era Cure and Bauhaus are good starting points in a discussion which quickly branches into unblazed territory. Recommended.
–Michael T. Fournier (D6)