‘Plug The Leads In’ recreates the vintage 60’s psychedelic sound with aplomb. This is how to make rock music.
Premium Leisure’s Chris Barker seems to be a man dedicated to his craft. Acting as the main song-writer for his band, the producer, the engineer, there is power-figure above telling him how to make music. ‘Plug The Leads In’ is an EP that is a testament to this effort on the music and nothing else. This is an EP that recreates that long sought-after 60’s rock sound, without any blemishes or pale-imitations.
Barker is a man that has an obsession, that obsession being vintage equipment. Recording his music with this equipment and a focus on analogue recording techniques lends to this authentic sound. Opener ‘Water Pistol’ begins this journey of the 60’s. A song we have already waxed lyrical about on Born, it would be amiss to not give it its due course, because this is a song that should be highly remembered in 2018. ‘Water Pistol’ is based on those distorted undulating guitar rhythms that dominated 60’s psychedelia. This six minute epic pounds and rides through its run time. The extremely catchy chorus is built upon this undulating rhythm, but is a slow builder that could be akin to a near whisper. After the second run of this fantastic chorus, comes the big build up. This is a tension building masterclass, where Barker utilises his fantastic guitar playing to great effect, allowing his guitar to bleed and move all over the track. Distortion slowly appears, chorus also saying a much needed hello. This is a slowly building cacophony of distortion, noise and guitar love that must be heard.
Title track ‘Plug The Leads In’ is another epic. Channeling early Tame Impala, Chris Barker’s vocals take on a dream-like quality, promoting the drug-like affects of pursuing creative interests, helping to improve any mood with the power of creation; ‘never mind how you’re felling/if you’ve got time plug the leads in’. It is apt that Barker’s focus on the power of music comes in this track that is full of swagger and self-confidence. His guitar playing oozes charisma all over this track, moving from delicate to punchy distorted riffs that are impossible to stay still to.
Chris Barker and his band seem to love music. Who doesn’t? But a running theme of this EP is the love of music for music’s sake, and not for making your fortune. Whereas the aforementioned tracks exalt the benefits of music, ‘Gold Tunes’ is lighter in tone and timbre, but is more scathing in its message. This is a song about the beauty of a song that has been painstakingly crafted, versus the unimaginative mundane mass-market music that saturates the market. It seems only right that this message comes in the form blues-rock. The blues is an era of music and a philosophy that was born out of love for music and delivering a message, and ‘Gold Tunes’ feels like exactly that. This is a song that exudes fun, a song that loves music for music.
It seems fitting that this authentic album, focused on just creating music and not concerned with making that next big hit, is released on Beanie Tapes, a cassette only record label based out of Oxford. Cassette, at the time of its heyday, was a tool for sharing music that resonated with people, and ‘Plug The Leads In’ would probably have been one of those magical EPs that would have been first to come onto the mixtape.
Listen to the EP below on Spotify, or catch one of those sweet, sweet cassettes at the link here