Montreal indie rock outfit Sex Machine Octopus return with their softmore album Plastic Scenes, their first offering since 2016’s Fish In The Sea EP. In the three years between these releases, the group has matured their early brooding garage jams into bona fide dance rock anthems reminiscent of late naughties Brit indie rockers (The Killers, The Editors, TV On The Radio, et. al.).
Plastic Scenes is an album of self-examination. Rolling guitar riffage and driving drums provide a counterpoint to lead singer Laurent Boland’s lyrics: motifs of unrequited adolescent love, loss of parental comfort, but mostly anxiety — from generalized uncertainty to end-of-times geopolitical turmoil. It isn’t until Safe N’ Sound, the lead single buried halfway down the track listing, that the narrator addresses problems beyond his own, describing a partner’s self-inflicted trauma and their reluctance to recover.
Despite the overarching themes of self-doubt, the record comes off as energetic without the freneticism that usually accompanies this flavour of indie rock. The exceptions, perhaps, are bookend tracks I Know and Hidden Tiger // Rolling Thunder. In between, Sex Machine Octopus strike a delicate balance between energetic dance-rock and introspective indie folk. Without sceding to clichés, Plastic Scenes easily finds its place on the Montreal guitar band landscape.
Sex Machine Octopus’ Plastic Scenes is released November 23rd at Le Belmont, presented by M Pour Montreal and supported by Jamboree Jambora and Thierry Larose.
Stream Plastic Scenes here