It’s Time For The Plimsouls
Everything about this record is pure stripped-down rock ‘n’ roll. Mostly. There are one or two ill-advised studio gimmicks, but hey man, it was 1981! And besides, the real studio polish would happen a couple years later when The Plimsouls released Everywhere At Once and ended up on the Valley Girl Soundtrack with their big selling single A Million Miles Away.
In many respects this LP (their first full album released a year after the fantastic - but difficult to locate EP - Zero Hour) is nearly a million miles away from the short lived fame they’d suffer through in 1983. Fame comes at a cost and it cost The Plimsouls everything since they broke up right after the album came out on David Geffen’s humble little label called Geffen.
Listening to this long-player you can imagine the marketing people at Planet Records (part of the Elektra/Asylum behemoth) arguing about how to sell it. It’s new wave! It’s post punk! It’s garage rock reinvented for the 80s! It’s power pop! In my experience, this type of scenario usually sent great rock ‘n’ roll records like this to the cut-out bins of your local record store. Good for teenage pocketbooks but bad for bands. But here’s some good news! That didn’t happen to this record. People bought it. Don’t get me wrong, I doubt Peter Case is currently raking in any cash from this record but I bet he got a sweet condo and a Mercury Capri (with the big engine) out of the deal back in ‘81!
The fact is The Plimsouls were led by guitarist Peter Case. In rock ‘n’ roll circles Mr. Case comes with quite a pedigree as he was 1/3 of The Nerves along with Jack Lee and Paul Collins (Paul Collins Beat). The Nerves, one of America’s last hopes in my opinion, collapsed under the weight of their one release - a measly little incredible four song masterpiece that’s hideously rare. The Nerves EP in question contained the original version of Hangin’ On The Telephone which was covered to great effect by Blondie several years later. Ok, back to The Plimsouls. They were rounded out by some heavy hitters like Lou Ramirez on drums, Dave Pahoa on bass/vocals and Eddie Munoz on lead guitar. No slouches. Listen to the record and you’ll see what I mean.
This record is for lovers of straight up rock ‘n’ roll, garage rock, and stuff that was called new wave that’s really just rock music that came out during that time period when it was so important to classify and categorize rock records. People who like The Dwight Twilley Band, Phil Seymour, The Raspberries and lovers of most anything called “power pop” from the late 70s or early 80s will adore this record. I know I sure do. My favorite tracks on this elpee are Zero Hour, Now, Lost Time and Everyday Things. Come to think of it, I’m gonna go get another Pop-Tart, wash it down with a can of Coke and spin this sweet little record another time, m’friends!!!
*Nerds will notice that this is the Zero Hour EP version (very slightly different than the reviewed LP).