Let me just start off by saying that I like the name of today’s band: The Red Plastic Buddha (website coming soon). It’s one of those names that makes you start scratching your chin and pondering about the mystery behind its meaning. The way I interpret it is that a red plastic Buddha is some cheap, easily reproduceable knock-off of something that’s supposed to be very deep and spiritual. So the way I figure it, the band’s name is a way of getting people to think about commercialized or easily obtained enlightenment. Considering that they are a self-described “psychedelic indie garage band” then I would assume that they are against such things. But that’s just me being purely philosophical, so let’s get to the really good stuff: the tunes.
As soon as I started playing the first track off of their album Sunflower Sessions, I knew that entire CD was going to be an incredible listening experience. The guitar riff that starts up about 30 seconds into “Forget Me Not” really gets you into the song and the album as a whole. And there’s really powerful singing throughout that screams of old school rock ‘n roll stylings. Overall, the track is just a really upbeat and engaging way to start off an awesome album. But then things slow down a little bit on the next track, “Rollercoaster,” while still managing to keep things rockin’ just as hard. There’s a lot of percussion throughout the song and a little after the halfway point one there’s an organ solo, so I was reminded of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly, which is one of those psychedelic classic. But The Red Plastic Buddha apparently know when to cut it out with the solos, so there isn’t 15 minutes of filler in there. Still, there is that element of old-school psychedelia that somehow manages to always make people wave their heads back in some sort of pleasant daze.
The other two songs on this six-track album that really stood out to me were the last two. “Over and Over” is one of those slow, emotional pop tunes that goes for the epic quality with a synthesized string section and a mellow verse that eventually builds up to a dramatic chorus. Kind of like “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith, except that The Red Plastic Buddha doesn’t try to shove a whole bunch of forced emotion down your throat. When you listen to something as glossy and over-produced as “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” it has that stain of mass consumerism on it that kind of negates its sincerity. It’s easier to appreciate a song that was more likely to have been created on a personal level by the musicians than by someone wanting to appeal to the profitable multitudes.
Moving on, I don’t think I have to explain why I like the final track, “Gingerbread Pornography.” I bet you think it’s an awesome song without having even heard it. You won’t be disappointed when you do.
Purchase Sunflower Sessions by The Red Plastic Buddha
The Red Plastic Buddha – Forget Me Not
The Red Plastic Buddha – Gingerbread Pornography (Live)
For more information on The Red Plastic Buddha, visit their MySpace page.
Oh, and I actually don’t really mind “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Maybe if they played it less than an average of a million times per second back when it was released then I would like it a little bit more.