Sludge rock is a genre often overlooked in the mainstream of music and while the name may suggest grime and unpleasantness, the sounds that come out of it are the exact opposite.
Enter English rockers Plastic Animals and their latest album, “Picture from the Blackout” a hybrid of sludge and pep with a dash of Pink Floyd thrown in to make for an intriguing nine tracks.
Many of the songs on the album are over or close to six minutes, which can be intimidating to more casual listeners, but there’s nothing daunting about these tracks. “Colophone”, “Sigh – Fi” and the album’s closer “Holy Daze” all begin with soft melancholic or groovy sounds that embrace and bring you into their little world before bringing out the grit of the sludge genre.
Other times Plastic Animals sounds more like a jam band and keep the lyrics to a minimum like on “Colophone” where a full four minutes go by before a word is said. Tracks “Portal” and “Die Ann” are slower songs but sound like they could come from a more indie pop band, at least at the beginning. “Die Ann” has a brazen guitar solo at the end that is gleefully distorted to Hell and back and with any other band it would sound out of place, but Plastic Animals make it work.
“Picture from the Blackout” is a great album for those looking to dip their feet into sludge/post-grunge rock and should still please current fans of the genre. With long tracks full of solos and jams, and shorter more approachable tunes that blend sludge with softer melodies, Plastic Animals transcends genres as well as mind waves.