The Dreamers Stadium
added: 25 Feb 2013
// release date: 25 Feb 2013 // label: Planet Function/PIAS
reviewer: Paul Holmes
Every year brings a new batch of indie darlings, championed for a moment, then quietly forgotten - whilst a token few go on to international success. The latest in this long line are Irish four-piece The Plea. They have the simplistic name, the pretentious album artwork (simultaneously drawing up connotations of Village Of The Damned and those 1970s safety films they showed you in school), and enough word of mouth to possibly be one of the lucky ones.
Perhaps where The Plea have succeeded most with this album is in emulating their heroes. They’re hardly breaking the mould with this debut, but the results are well crafted, and reminiscent of those who inspired the band to pick up instruments in the first place. Which, perhaps is precisely the point.
The legacy of U2 looms large on their sound, and the band occasionally fall into the same mould of mechanical, staccato guitar parts crunching away underneath overwrought keyboards. But when that works, it manages to remind you why U2 are one of the biggest bands on the planet, with the likes of ‘Staggers Anthem’ and ‘Too Young To Die’ sounding truly anthemic already. Elsewhere, ‘Send It Out’ joins these two tracks in sending television montage makers into a frenzy, with repeated references to New Years Eve despite the song having no discernable trace of Hootenanny.
One highlight is ‘Praise Be’, which showcases a more ballsy side to The Plea, reminiscent of Velvet Revolver in their prime. It’s definite single material, with a bounce behind it it’s impossible not to get behind, though it does feel slightly disappointing whenever the choruses fall back into the stadium epic mould.
There are hints of a contemporary Marc Bolan on ‘I Am The Miracle’, with fun, simplistic lyrics delivered with a nasal croon at odds with the rest of the album at just the right moment - allowing for a welcome breather before lengthy, Coldplay-esque ballad ‘Windchime’. This track in particular is saved by Denis Doherty’s vocals, including canny use of phased backing harmonies at just the right points throughout.
It’s one of the strong points of a production by Chris Potter [The Verve, I Am Kloot, The Feeling], which sometimes feels a little too harsh and overtly digital, particularly in the drum sound. Some of the results are a little too familiar - drawing comparisons to bands Potter has worked with in the past even without knowing this is his work, but when the mood takes him and the band, they can be a surprisingly effective pairing, and this bodes well for future material.
Television montage makers, we’ve just found your new soundtrack - and everyone else may have just found the next big thing.
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