Soft Plastics declared their band re-birth (of sorts) earlier this spring. A new project from the creative director and musical visionary, Carey Mercer also the former songwriter and leader of the critically adored, Frog Eyes. Soft Plastics‘ debut album, 5 Dreams will be released on June 5, 2020 via Paper Bag Records. The songs on 5 Dreams were written by Carey in the fall and winter of 2018–2019, mere months after the dissolution of Frog Eyes, the band Mercer shared for eighteen years with Mel Campbell and a rotating cast of musicians. The new album tracks have ebbed into the universe in a consistent, life affirming drip, led by “Rope Off The Tigers” and as with the last offering – three at a time – with “The Party’s Still On,” “Wyld Thyng” and the serenely aquatic visual for “Here’s Where The Sun Was.”
Today, Soft Plastics follows suit with three more glorious tracks, including “Spartacus, Please,” “I Pay No Heed To The Signs” and the despondent “I Dreamed Of Cold Clean Green Seas” with its jerky, revived home movie and archival VHS footage compiled by keyboardist, Shyla Seller (with permission from SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts). She describes the precise process, working as archivist with a specialty in the preservation of audiovisual materials. “Video tape is a fragile and endangered media with not a lot of lifespan left,” she notes. “And, in many cases cassette and open reel tapes are unplayable because of sticky shed syndrome. To make them playable I bake them in a dehydrator and clean them, but often you still get the noise and degradation you see in the clips, especially if tapes have been stored in humid or warm environments. The dance footage has a good example of an AV artifact known as bearding.” WATCH it above or along with Carey’s recent Isolation Nation Q&A for Exclaim Magazine where they were featured yesterday.
The influences on 5 Dreams are post-punk, new wave, mariachi, new-wave mariachi, dub, hip hop, goth-rock, taking cues and according gobs of respect to Blixa Bargeld, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Talk Talk, Happy Mondays—all rung through the grime of a northern port city. It’s the interplay of the drums and the gelling effect of the synthesizer, the baritone running downhill with the bass, the trumpets and pedal steel filling up the gaps. Mercer says: “The songs aren’t tied to a cohesive theme, but they do exist in a land that is deeply wet, dark, flooded—occasionally a gilded sun-beam comes out of nowhere and the song just stops and stares in bloody awe at what we are given, what we might see.”
BeatRoute Magazine recently made feature reference to note, “this new band is equally as poignant and visceral as its predecessor.”
The name Soft Plastics carries a tension: the sound of the words is sonorous, inviting; but the phrase describes an overwhelming force, a ubiquitous thing used to make so many other things, becoming slowly enmeshed in earth and water, permeating the flesh of living creatures.
5 Dreams will be released by Paper Bag Records with distribution in Canada through Fontana North and in the US and internationally via The Orchard. You can PRE-ORDER 5 Dreams now.
photo credit: Angela Fama
Street Date: June 5, 2020
[click here to pre-order]
1. St Tosh the Actor
2. Here’s Where the Sun Was
4. I Dreamed of Cold Clean Green Seas
5. The Party’s Still On
6. Spartacus, Please
7. I Pay No Heed to the Signs
8. Rope off the Tigers
9. The Angels
10. Wyld Thyng