Cardiff duo Plastic Estate burst onto the scene in 2019 with their compelling blend of synth driven new wave and indie electro-pop. June 19th sees their first physical release via Avant! Records: hazy, introspective lead single This Place, and a darker, more brooding B-Side, Have You Ever.
Opening with a plucky synth lead, This Place quickly builds into sophisticated production, as gated drums, acoustic guitars and a haunting string synth line join the mix. Lyrically, the song encapsulates dream-like themes of emotional solitude and uncertainty, and the understated, contemplative vocal delivery adds to the sense of doubt and indecisiveness. Despite the lyrical content being in contrast to the brighter overall sound, the vocals perfectly complement the instrumentation. Plastic Estate’s composition, coupled with their debut music video for This Place, featuring a wistful montage of footage from the 1968 Olympics; creating an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, and a sound that seems ready-made for summer festival stages.
The B-Side, Have You Ever, sees the band take a moody turn, as synths and guitars shimmer beneath cynical, pessimistic lyricism. As on This Place, Plastic Estate pay plenty of homage to the sounds of the 1980s, with punchy drum hits and decorative synth accents accompanying the captivating lyrics, keeping the listener engaged throughout.
The duo seem determined to utilise what is obviously an expansive toolkit of production skills, which can, at times, result in some heavy-handed compositional features. However, it is always exciting to see such a young band explore and curate their sound without fear.
Much like their first few singles, Plastic Estate have again created a sonic landscape deeply rooted in a previous era, and with more than a few nods to the artists of the 80s who clearly provide the band with inspiration (the mournful, delayed guitar riff of This Place is immediately reminiscent of Depeche Mode), the duo display their obvious affection for, and understanding of the genre. Yet to suggest their music is simply retrospective would be to do them a disservice. Plastic Estate’s dynamic sound fits seamlessly into the incredibly diverse contemporary Cardiff music scene as they bring a fresh, laid back feeling to alt-new wave, and continue to show what a promising act they are.
Words by Harry Johnson.
This Place is their first physical release and it’s due on 7-inch vinyl and digital on June 19 via AVANT! Records.