With a name like the Plastic Yellow Band, you’d think this lot fell right out of the 1970s. And you’d be right! At least, that’s what it sounds like. Hailing from Aiken, South Carolina, PYB forego the Southern-fried influences around them and head straight for the FM dial circa 1977. Indeed the cover, perhaps unwittingly, salutes the likes of Boston and the Electric Light Orchestra.
They liken themselves, or their management and press people liken them, to John Lennon, Pink Floyd, and Fleetwood Mac. However, you can name any like act from that era and draw an apt comparison. Super Tramp, for one, is an influence out of the gate on “Starlight,” as is the aforementioned Electric Light Orchestra. This track opens the album and is a 21-minute opus dedicated to anyone who has lost someone close. An interesting journey, a radio edit would be awesome.
“America (Mother of Exiles)” does bring in a bit of southern influence in that its main theme is patriotism. It’s not sentimental or wide-eyed, however, and is probably the closest thing to Freedom Rock you’ll find on this album (man).
The presumed single, “When I Rock,” offers few surprises, but like the rest of the songs on the album, it gets the job done. The lyrics are a little unimaginative, bordering on the silly. “My baby loves some when I rock/She rocks around the clock.”
Thankfully, the band avoids many of the most obnoxious clichés like long guitar solos. Oh, they can grind an ax, but you won’t be looking at your watch while they’re doing it. The Plastic Yellow Band consider themselves “new classic rock,” which is an oxymoron of course. However, if the ’60s and ‘70s era classic rock is your bag, this is certainly a fresh yet familiar sounding batch of songs.
8 Stars Out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.