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PBII - Plastic Soup CD (album) cover





3.87 | 53 ratings

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4 stars Dutch symphonic rock formation Plackband made wonderful early Genesis inspired symphonic rock in the late Seventies and early Eighties. After they had disbanded in 1982, Plackband decided to reunite in 2000 and released the CD's The Lost Tapes (2000) and After The Battle (2002). But in 2008 the band changed their musical formula and their name, into PBII, brilliant simplicity. In 2010 PBII released their debut album entitled Plastic Soup, a year before I had seen PBII their try-out in the Musicon (The Hague) and quickly realised that PBII was not founded to play music in the vein of Plackband. PBII were searching for a new challenge, a new musical adventure.

Listening to PBII their debut-CD entitled Plastic Soup, I got more and more impressed, what an interesting and often captivating and exciting blend of symphonic rock, rock and progressive pop. And it all sounds so well balanced and elaborate. It's obvious that original Plackband members Ronald Brautigam (guitars), Michel van Wassem (keyboards and vocals) and Tom van der Meulen (drums) have turned into experienced and skilled musicians. They present a very strong musical formula that will appeal to a wide range of progrock lovers, without sounding too smooth or too mainstream. The first composition is the mid-long and alternating Book Of Changes (3 parts), what a splendid and exciting music: a strong tension between the exciting bombastic interludes, the compelling climates and the more mellow parts (evoking 67-77 Genesis), Ronald delivers varied guitar work (from propulsive riffs to howling leads) and Michel treats us on a wonderful and lush keyboard sound (from warm piano runs to majestic Mellotron eruptions and fat synthesizer flights). This is backed by a powerful rhythm-section in which newcomer Harry den Hartog gets room to show his awesome skills on the bass guitar. In fact PBII makes very strong modern progressive rock!

The next track In The Arms Of A Gemeni clearly showcases the more accessible side of PBII. But you can enjoy a tasteful colouring: a propulsive guitar riff in the true R&R tradition, a 'brassy' keyboard sound and beautiful twanging acoustic guitars. In general the rhythm is catchy and the atmosphere sounds modern.

The following eight songs also alternate between these styles, the trademark of PBII on this album.

A sound towards 24-carat symphonic rock with frequent shifting moods, accelerations and breaks in Loneliness (from exciting bombastic climates with a propulsive rhythm-section and sensational synthesizer runs to more dreamy with a moving guitar solo and delicate work on the church organ).

The varied The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (wonderful guitar play with strong hints of Steve Hackett because of the use of the volume pedal and 'hammering down').

And the splendid final composition Cradle To Cradle: awesome keyboards, blistering guitar work (by guest John Mitchell) and an impressive final part with choir-Mellotron and a flashy synthesizer solo, all members in its full splendour!

A more progressive pop atmosphere can be traced in songs like Criticize The Critics (a tight beat with a propulsive bass and heavy guitar) and Living By The Dice that halfway changes into compelling symphonic rock again featuring the mighty choir-Mellotron sound.

And finally PBII delivers tracks that are tastefully arranged with each its own climate: soaring keyboards with inventive bass work in the instrumental Ladrillo, the ballad It's Your Life (from a dreamy start with piano and emotional female vocals to a conclusion with sumptuous keyboards) and a sultry bass (by guest John Jowitt, from IQ fame) and intense guitar play in the Eastern oriented Fata Morgana.

The additional DVD contains a wonderful live rendition of It's Your Life in which singer Heidi Jo Hines shines. And an impression of Michel and his musical adventure in a local church, including shots of his play on the church organ, short but very pleasant to watch.

In my opinion PBII made an excellent debut CD that will please many progheads. And a big hand for PBII to let us be aware of the devastating effect of plastic, almost 10 years after Plastic Soup the situation has only become worse and worse!

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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