Album Review: Same – “Plastic Western”
Posted: by The Editor
Plastic Western emanates the aura of a lit candle; warm and comforting, but not overpowering. It has a purified, breezy sound made possible by anchored vocals and riffs that tip-toe gently. Particularly, the trio of instrumental tracks show different flavors of their style. “Make it So,” a zippy 52-second track, is scratchy and thorny. “¿Como Esta La Serenidad?,” which roughly translates to “how is the serenity?”, is, indeed, serene and cushioned. The title track leans closer to a folksy sound.
Same is stylistically similar to Soccer Mommy and Pavement, embodying the coasting and unhurried energy that they both do. It’s also fastidiously crafted the way a lot of Oso Oso’s work is. Each component, even the most minute ones, feels placed with intent. Genre-wise, they lie within the more refined side of indie rock.
The clean vocal delivery on this record is necessary, for the words are difficult enough to understand as is. The songwriting is obscure, brimming with phrases bereft of concrete meanings. It’s all kept just open-ended enough to make you question how thoroughly you comprehend it.
The persistence of memories is a recurring theme on this album. Take “Landlady,” which begins by describing a landlord adamant on enforcing rules, then tumbles into a meditation on how every place you visit has been occupied by others before you, which can feel eerie but also sort of intriguing. The moral of Plastic Western is to not take solace in the good times you once had – even if doing that stokes joy – because they’re often riddled with hazards, “Caution tape surrounds the past,” or sometimes meaningless, “Don’t hoard mementos with no significance.”
Fatigue, too, comes up at a few points. It underscores “Bluish,” a track revolving around how the omnipresence of technology can result in making people feel overwhelmed and distant from each other. Maybe that description of the song would lead you to believe it’s self-congratulatory and meant to disparage people who spend a lot of time using their phones, but it’s not in that vein. It’s more along the lines of “this has consumed all of us – myself included – but we feel incapable of escaping”
And “Cherry Pull N Peel” is about longing for simplicity and ease. It kicks off with a description of exhaustion and ends by expressing a desire to feel like a Twizzler candy, (which is what the track title refers to) using the food as a physical representation of glee.
Same is succinct in their sound as well as their songwriting. They tell stories without being superfluous and craft harmonies that are never jumbled.
Plastic Western is available everywhere May 8 on Lauren Records.
Bineet Kaur // @hellobineet
The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.