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Birth Control - Plastic People CD (album) cover


Birth Control


Heavy Prog

3.69 | 174 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars My opinion on this one is mixed. There's a lot to like here, particularly the keyboard playing. And the LP has more than a few moments of heavy-prog grandeur, some several minutes long. But here's what keeps Plastic People from being a three-star album: several songs are marked by inanities befitting RIO or avant-prog. Maybe this shouldn't bother me, but it does. I can appreciate some avant-prog (the Residents' Commercial Album, e.g.), but it's the sort of thing that works best as the framework for a piece of music. In other words, sprinkling some symphonic prog, heavy prog, prog folk, prog metal, etc. into an avant-garde piece sounds like a good idea. Maybe a great idea, actually. But while I appreciate the meta-avant possibilities of scattering some non sequiturs throughout an otherwise straight album, it just doesn't work for me, at least on Plastic People.

But those flashes of brilliance are pretty good, and the bursts of inanity are sufficiently infrequent to make parts of Plastic People enjoyable. In particular, the title song is pretty good. The keyboards on "Plastic People" remind me a bit of Tony Banks and a bit of Keith Emerson, but also a lot of Andy Tillison, possibly indicating an influence on modern progressive rock. And what, or who are "plastic people?" According to, the last verse begins "A plastic pachyderm could be their president." Ordinarily the elephant (pachyderm) would symbolize imperialism. But could this German band also be discussing US politics, in which the elephant (pachyderm) represents the Republican Party? (The then-US president was a Republican.) Or should we not bother trying to interpret the lyrics, which also include the line "Never mind / there might be a deeper sense / cracking silly jokes for idiots"?

Overall, Plastic People suffers as much from self-inflicted injuries than from a lack of quality material. It reminds me of an intentionally distressed but otherwise serviceable piece of furniture: I respect it as art, but in the case of Plastic People, I'd rather just have the plain old furniture.

Or something like that.

patrickq | 2/5 |


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