…And Their Paradise Is Full Of Snakes LP
(Pirates Press Records)
The fact of the matter is that, in punk circles, no one wants to be a “middle of the road” kind of band. Why? Well, as Dwight Eisenhower once said, “The middle of the road is all the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters,” and it is in those gutters (or teetering on the brink of them) where punk bands tend to shine the brightest. Or, if you like, “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space” and, for better or for worse, that sentiment is exemplified by Plizzken’s new album; it’s not too clean cut but it’s still not dirty enough either, they’re not “too dangerous” but not too safe,” and …And Their Paradise Is Full Of Snakes isn’t terribly memorable which, unfortunately – given the style in which the music exists – makes it utterly forgettable.
Plizzken’s path to perfect mediocrity begins as soon as needle catches groove and “Wasted” opens the A-side of …And Their Paradise Is Full Of Snakes. There, guitarists Erik Henning (no, he’s not Mr. Perfect’s brother) and Silvio Schlesier converge with bassist Markus Walker to produce a perfectly paint-by-numbers composition which is neither good nor poor enough to leave an enduring impression on listeners – it simply exists. The same is true of Sebastian Walkenhurst’s vocals, when he enters the mix of the song; lines like, “Yesterday is long ago/ And tomorrow’s far away/ I live for now, I live for now/ Today is where I stay” could easily have been pulled out of the margins in any sixth grade problem child’s social studies workbook. Simply said, the song and sound aren’t bad – it’s rudimentary, and that’s worse. The misses keep on coming too as “Street Education” drops out early and “Dear All Happy People” sends an open letter that it’s unlikely anyone will receive. Each and every time in this running, the results amount to a contrivance for which Plizzken aspires, but really has no clue how to achieve.
Unfortunately, the running doesn’t get any better on the B-side of the album. After listeners flip the record over, “In The Gutter” proves definitively that Plizzken couldn’t find their intended destination with a map, “Beware” suffers from a lyric sheet which is far too short to accommodate its three-minute runtime (yes, we know “It’s a feeling – I’m surrounded,” fellas – fill in your lyric sheet and tell us more), “Rude & Wild” is dead on arrival because it presents as neither rude nor wild, and the wheezing keyboards which color the entire album with no positive effect really smother “Killed By Time” because there’s really just far too much of them layered on.
To its credit, “Unwanted” manages to at least ‘sort of’ close the album in a positive manner by finally matching its sound with a style similar to that of Lars and The Bastards but, by then, the improvement is obviously “too little, too late” because the needle lifts thereafter. The way the album ends is unfortunate because listeners are left with the feeling that Plizzken is capable of more than they’ve shown here. In this late playing, Plizzken shows promise – so that there’s so little in the running after that is a heart-breaker. The positive note that one could take way from the …And Their Paradise Is Full Of Snakes LP is that the band has cleared the first hurdle and at least started something – here’s hoping they flesh themselves out a little better on their next release. [Bill Adams]
The …And Their Paradise Is Full Of Snakes LP is out now. Buy it here, directly from Pirates Press Records.