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Split 12” v2 - Magic Eye / Le Thug / Zed Penguin / Plastic Animals (Song, By Toad)

4 stars
Eclectica abounds on on this four-band snapshot compendium of 
dispatches from some of the country's more gloriously, and at times 
wilfully off-piste musical glories, who provide two songs apiece to 
this limited edition vinyl, alongside more of the same to be downloaded 
on purchase of an equally limited pack of customised beer.

Plastic Animals kick things off with 'Sheltered,' a piece of sci-fi 
grunge that counterpoints urgent guitars and manic synth squiggles with 
laid-back stoner vocals. On side two, the band's second piece, 
'Floating,' is jauntier, leaning here to more hypnotically voguish 
dream-pop stylings

  Magic Eye sound beamed in from behind a shoe-gazer's fringe, so 
beguilingly lovely are the swooping female vocals and echo-box filtered 
guitar patterns on 'Flamin' Teenage', which leaves plenty of swoonsome 
space to breathe. 'Japan' drifts off into similarly exotic waters, 
guitars pinging out oriental melodies as a spooky mantra coos over what 
sounds like a primitive drum-machine reconstituted for another age.

Zed Penguin's 'Wandering' is a spartan, raggedy-assed lost soul's 
lament that sounds like it's been standing in a corner of CBGB'S 
feeling sorry for itself for the last thirty years, biding its 
melancholy time before delivering something magnificently skewed and 
deliciously morose. Zed Penguin's second track, 'Heathens' is a 
moodier, spookier-sounding affair, which pokes its musical finger in 
your chest with a loose-knit insistence that you can't help but be 
drawn into.

On Le Thug's 'New Balance', slo-mo washing-machine drones provide a 
densely impressionistic backdrop for a vocal that sounds akin to one of 
One Dove's quieter moments. Their second piece, 'Sense in Scotland,' 
closes the record with a thirteen minute epic that frames a nursery 
rhyme vocal with an increasingly dense chug that builds into a 
monster-sized space rock soundscape under-pinned with little kosmiche 
rhythms that pulse it towards another stratosphere. All of which makes 
for a package tour in waiting that might just get messy. 

The List, April 2013



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