The Plastic Constellations - Mazatlan (2004)
Every once in a while, for the purpose of maximum jamming, I put this album on and rock out. The Constellations are from Minneapolis, and forge a steady groove consisting of a mixture of DC twin guitar style and an almost rap-rock style that on paper sound terrible, but in actuality works well on so many levels. Mazatlan works on a heavy rhythmic based sound, with the guitars doing more to anchor the rhythms than dance around them. Some of the songs are so driving and anthemic that its hard not to bounce around when listening to these guys. The album starts off with the appropriately titled, We Came To Play - "We hear the whistle and we know its time" and "We wrote this, and we stomp our shoes, We came to play, its what we do" - theres a light heartedness to the songs that makes them perfect for rocking while driving, getting things done or even just sitting and listening. Though sitting will be hard. Especially when Evil Groove comes on. The drum and the guitars that start the song are not particularly evil but they groove like no other. Describing them with the "rap rock" term comes at a price. Limp Bizkit this is not. But they do rhyme and pretty well, and they have a meter to their delivery that is definitely rap based. The rock element and their attention to details keeps it from becoming a tired trick. In not time you'll be singing along to clever lyrics like, "All we ask is to somehow end up remembered, and not to end up beheaded or otherwise ex-members." The clincher to all these songs is how they build on the basic rhythms and bring most of the songs to a crashing close. Definitely a top notch record with only one short miss in the form of the title song. All the other tracks brim with energy and power.
The Constellations also have a newer record called Crusades that was released in 2006 on French Kiss Records, the label of Seth Jarbour of Les Savy Fav fame.