Album Review: Plastic Bubble – Big Day Parade

plastic bubble

Big Day Parade was released by Plastic Bubble February 17, 2015. The Louisville band will be performing at Apocalypse Brew Works as part of Poorcastle Festival in Louisville Friday, July 10.

In the most endearing way: what in the world?

Plastic Bubble is a collective ensemble band based in Louisville that amounts to an indie-psych-pop band.. but really that doesn’t do them justice. Putting this band in a box with a genre is really the last thing you should do, because they amount to way more. That much is apparent after hearing the band’s sophomore album Big Day Parade.

Five songs in, I found myself at a loss trying to find a decent comparison for the band. First I was thinking, “This band sounds like a theme song for a cool Saturday morning kid’s TV show.” Next, I was thinking, “This is Phish meets The Decemberists.” At one point, I wondered if Plastic Bubble was the well-mannered little brother of The Flaming Lips. In reality, this band is all of those things and more. In the end, you can only describe it as Plastic Bubble, because it truly is unique.

Maybe its appropriate to have all of these scattered thoughts as I listen to Big Day Parade. The album zooms by at an alarming pace, but that’s never a bad thing on this album. Songs throw the kitchen sink at you in every way. There are so many types of instruments, melodies and ideas being thrown at you sonically. At the same time, there are several voices and songwriters in play. Songs are sometimes quirky with goofy lyrics, other times they show an emotional side. Each singer brings their own qualities to the table as well – some live more in the lyrics, others are more self-aware.

Somehow none of these things falter. It would seem like an impossible task, but the album moves along seamlessly. No song reaches three minutes, yet they all feel complete and serve their purpose. You don’t feel shortchanged by the abrupt end to Plastic Bubble songs.

Big Day Parade sounds like an 8-bit version of Montreal sister-project. Nope, let me keep thinking.

Just under 40 minutes, this album flies by. But there’s still so much content. Despite being so short, each song is full of intricate pieces that make it something bold, special and complete. There are 20 tracks, and there are only two or three that didn’t immediately grab my attention. Even in it’s less favorable moments, the band uses this album structure to their advantage to move swiftly into the next fantastical idea.

Big Day Parade sounds like Bob Dylan reborn in a Wes Anderson movie. No, I’m not sure that’s it either.

At the end of the day, I think the band’s name is Plastic Bubble because their clearly tucked away in their own little world. This album is like a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle where each piece has a cute picture to enjoy as you piece the bigger picture together. I think that’s as close as I can get to describing it. Luckily, Plastic Bubble has just let us stand on the outside looking in here.

You can buy Big Day Parade on Bandcamp here.

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