San Diego’s Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower aren’t famous — they’re infamous. No, scratch that. They’re notorious. Their shows are known for being hot, sweaty and just a tad bit homoerotic. The band was portrayed in only what the Good Lord gave them in a photo on their previous EP, If You Cut Us We Bleed. And they mercilessly twist punk rock and free-jazz into a bizarre amalgamation of noise and melody that’s as aggressive as it is challenging. But to some, it’s still “hardcore,” whatever that means.
Oh, but it isn’t. I don’t know what exactly Plot is, but they ain’t hardcore. Whatever you call them, however, they will elicit a reaction from you. Whether that means you will gawk in disbelief or just start twitching uncontrollably to their agitated no-wave. Their newest album, Love in the Fascist Brothel, despite having a slightly embarrassing name, takes the sound they established on Dissertation, Honey and catapults it further into the avant-garde. While there are no instrumental jazz freak-outs to speak of, the saxophone quotient has been greatly increased, as well as the dynamic tempo shifts.
Musically, the band takes turns from groove-oriented dance punk (“Exile on Vain Street”) to discordant no-wave (“Love in the Sex Prison”) to more straightforward, chugging punk rock (“Lipstick SS”) to Iggy Pop-like sleaze rock (“Angry, Young and Rich”). And if you couldn’t tell, they had a little fun with the song titles on this one, which pairs well with the sadomasochistic Third Reich cartoon artwork. But, perhaps the silliest title of all, “SLC Hunks,” belongs to the song with the most disco-punk grooveability, which closes the album on a slightly more user-friendly note than many of the more aggressive tracks, resulting in a chorus of “we’ll only laugh and spit in your eye.” It doesn’t look like that infamy will let up anytime soon.
Compared to Dissertation, Love is a more diverse record, despite the lack of instrumentals or spoken word pieces. It rocks in all the right places, but the fact that the constant onslaught of wiry punk rock energy never lets up makes the album thoroughly exhausting. Good, but exhausting. And though I would have left “Rattus Über Alles” off altogether, the album is pretty short as it is. So crank it up, press play and start gyrating. This twenty-three minutes blows by fast!
Black Eyes – Cough
Contortions – Buy This Record
Smoke and Smoke – Love Suffers Long
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.