This fourth album from Mark McGrain and his band Plunge is both interesting and frustrating to listen to with its bold experimental style that can come across as too chaotic at times.
There is no doubting the creativity that has gone into creating tracks such as ‘The Jilt’ and ‘Schoolie’s Day’ – both of which are cool and sophisticated in style as well as being a mix of traditional and contemporary sounds.
But this album occasionally goes over the top and gets carried away with creating a sound that is both refreshing and completely unlike anything that has been heard before. On songs such as ‘Falling with Grace’ and ‘As Angels Roar’, it sounds as though McGrain and his band are trying too hard – lacking in grace and style that other tracks possess.
Yet there are songs that the listener will sit up and pay attention to, eager to see which direction the music will take. ‘The Speed of Darkness’ is just one example of this and is performed with plenty of energy and enthusiasm by all of the performers. It is still experimental in style, yet there is an underlying sense of tradition beneath that is pleasing to hear.
‘Beyond the Night’ is definitely one of the most enjoyable tracks to listen to from the album. It sounds less chaotic and is easier to listen to as a result. Yet it still contains a unique style that is able to catch the listener’s attention, in the same way that ‘Exit Strategy’ does.
In the album’s favour it is absolutely fearless and the performances on it are straight to the point and doesn’t hold back. But it is just a shame that the music itself feels forceful and isn’t easy to enjoy.
Overall, it is a mixed bag of an album that leaves you feeling exhausted and uncertain of what you have just been listening to. But at the same time it is big, bold and commands your attention despite the direction that some of the music takes.