Department of Crooks – Plan 9 From Outer Space
Marc Moreland founded this trio whose sound could be equated to a soundtrack inspired by an Ed Wood production of a science-fiction induced spaghetti-western set deep in the seedy heart of Las Vegas.
With a name like Department of Crooks, you might expect "Plan 9" to be another gangsta rap tirade about crack ho's and the like, but then you'd be wrong. DOC -- with its twangy Western guitar sound, pop hooks, and occasional strange sound effects -- plays very accessible, mostly mid-tempo tunes designed to pour out of a Mustang convertible while trolling down the interstate to Barstow. With regular airplay several of these tunes could be hits, especially among pop aficianados. So, if you're moshed out and your ears are glazing over after listening to another anonymous techno-industrial-jungle-acid-garage-trance-house mix, you can do a lot worse than these rather law-abiding and tuneful Crooks.
Accessible, mid-tempo pop with twangy guitars. Well done. -- Phil Dirt
1) Seven Weeks -- Straight-ahead pop reminiscent of the '70s British New Wave sound with an added surf guitar riff. It's well constructed and ready for radio airplay.***
2) Whatcha Wanna Do Now? -- A repetitive bass line and interesting instrumental drop-ins surround a low-key, spoken vocal. It's got a good groove that carries you along, but at 5:48 it's a bit long and could have used more breaks/bridges/choruses.****
3) Plan 9 From Las Vegas -- A medium tempo instrumental with a twangy Western guitar, a honky-tonk piano, banjo, and a variety of musical and spacey sound effects. It sounds like the soundtrack for a film of the same name that would play over the opening credits.***
4) X-Ray Vision -- Another retro-pop tune out of the Brit New Wave mold.***
5) Walking with Darla -- A moody, evocative instrumental that features nicely close-miked acoustic steel string guitars, a simple piano figure and a scratchy low-fi Country-Western recording of "Tennesee Waltz." This is one of the more original tunes on the disc.****
6) Oh-Oui-Anne -- Back to the simple Brit-pop sound, this time a ballad. It's got a nice, gentle, loping feel.***
7) One Night in June -- A mid-tempo rocker, again in the Brit-pop style. The twist on this tune is that at about 3:30 it ends and the closing chord's vibratory harmonics are looped and processed for the next minute before fading out.***
8) Falling On Down -- A more straight-ahead tune with a rocking chorus. It ends/transitions to the next tune with an excerpt from a horror film.***
9) Beggar Blue Sky -- The distorted lead guitars add an edge to this tune. It builds nicely at the end, turning into one of the hardest rocking tunes on the album.***
10) Whiskey & Cadillacs -- The pace slows again for this ballad that features a march-like drum pattern and bagpipe-sounding synth. The backing vocals add interest to the anthemic melody.***
11) Aunt Sadie's House -- A slow, acapela fade-in leads to an oompah tuba-like rhythm. The words, which sound like "nyah, nyah, nyah," add to the silliness of this throwaway.**12) New York City -- The twangy Western guitar sound returns to support a reverbed vocal (reminiscent of Johnny Cash) about how New York is not all it's cracked up to be. The chorus carries you along.***
1. Seven Weeks 2. Whatcha Wanna Do Now? 3. Plan 9 from Las Vegas
4. X-Ray Vision 5. Walking With Darla 6. Oh-Oui-Anne 7. One Night in June
8. Falling on Down 9. Beggar Blue Sky 10. Whiskey & Cadillacs
11. Aunt Sandie's House 12. New York City
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