At first blush, my deduction of Sugarplastic's wide-scale release, 1996's Bang, The Earth is Round, was that a trio of prodigiously smart Los Angeles wunderkinds were operating on the same bandwidth as XTC, albeit with more fey and esoteric inflections. In fact, I thought it was a bit absurd that a major label (Geffen) would wrap one of their tentacles around a project so devoid of typical, mainstream pop-star trappings. After becoming acquainted with the rest of the 'Plastics catalog, especially their debut Radio Jejune, I realized there was much more than abject Andy Partridge/Colin Moulding-homage afoot. Boasting their own eccentric songwriting duo of Ben Eshbach and Kiara Geller, Sugarplastic's indigenous sense of whimsy encompassed more than off-kilter pop tunes, but also wry allegorical themes, and sonically speaking, infectiously jagged rhythms.
The Japanese-only Primitive Plastic: Demos and B-sides is precisely what it's title purports it to be, with Eshbach imparting in the album's liner notes, "We were just kids, here are some of our baby pictures." Four of the fifteen selections technically saw the light of day prior to Primitive Plastic's release, albeit in exceedingly limited quantities in some instances. Case in point would be "Superball," which was derived from a DIY single limited to a scant 200 copies. There's also "Dover," culled from a the Ottawa Bonesaw 7" box set, "All Way Down" from the Closet Pop Freak compilation, and the ever so quintessential "Liar Over Winchester," originally featured on a Minty Fresh Records 45. As for the demos quotient, most of the selections are keepers, including "Euripides the Jaguar," which is noted as the very first song the Sugarplastic took to task upon gracing a recording studio. At the time of this release it was said that the band had over fifty unreleased tracks under their belt, but whether we'll ever have the chance to indulge in them is anyone's guess. A very thorough discography can be referenced here.
01. Liar Over Winchester 02. Dover 03. All Way Down 04. Ode to Home 05. Set Me Up Eleven 06. Pineapple Lilly 07. Abigail 08. Superball 09. Stephanie 10. Marsha 11. Euripides the Jaguar 12. Wundergeisel 13. untitled demo 14. Where Have You Been? 15. Mumbletypeg
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