new music: stream ‘genesis’, the new ep from the suburban plaza #soundcheck

October 16, 2014

Glam references abound on this collection of slow jams. From the Bowie quoting opening and closing tracks, to the Gary Glitter drum samples, to the Prince references in “Love Like Retro,” The Suburban Plaza makes no bones about what’s in their record collection. What’s cool then is the way they transform those influences into massive harmonies and smooth melodies by way of classic R&B songcraft on their latest record, Genesis.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Sounding a bit like the union of Boyz II Men, The Beach Boys, The Pet Shop Boys, and yes Prince (Boys? Damn. So close…), The Suburban Plaza’s music is less 70’s underground than it is 60’s songwriting and day-at-the-beach melodies. Though opener “Glam Punk” is a bit of a tease, with its distorted guitars and Ziggy Stardust paeans, the record is full of chill harmonies that conjure up a cold drink on a warm day. Frontman Tony Clef’s silky vocals are drenched in reverb and caked in harmonies courtesy of cousins James Dillinger, Leslie Green, and Hudson Taylor. On “Rose,” the vocal interplay between the omnipresent hamronies and Clef’s impressive voice shows its cracks and vulnerabilities. The payoff is one of the best tracks on the record.

“Love Like Retro” and closer “Young Americans” (no, not that “Young Americans”), both wear their Prince hearts on their sleeve. “Love Like Retro” opens with a line referencing “Purple Rain” while the production pays tribute to “When Doves Cry.” In what may as well be the album’s thesis, Clef sings “Internet killed the video star / It’s always the past in my car.” For anyone who’s ever driven down the highway on a late summer afternoon blasting Prince and 90’s slow jams, this records for you. This records for all of us.