REGULAR FRIES War On Plastic Plants (JBO)

Despite being unfamiliar with Regular Fries' brand of psyched-out skunk rock all it took was word of the involvement of former Mercury Rev man and this year's (and last year's) producer of choice Dave Fridmann (who has also worked on the latest albums by The Delgados, Mogwai, The Flaming Lips, Wheat, Home and the Rev) to pique my interest. "War On Plastic Plants" is an interesting work, charting similar indie-dance territory to that mapped out by Primal Scream on their groundbreaking "Screamadelica", but given a ragged swagger and contemporary glint (observe the chorus from "London Eye", for example: "I'll get by without the London Eye/I'll stay home from the wonders of the Dome"). Although never less than enjoyable there are odd sections - usually the Fridmann produced ones, it has to be said - when music, lyrics and effects suddenly coalesce and you find yourself confronted with nothing less than a battered, straggly British equivalent of the cosmic American music piloted by Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy's last long players, the moment when a Regular Fry yells "Switch to manual!" during "Last Horizon" being a particularly spinetingly example. If it sounds like a backhanded complement to suggest that Regular Fries are at their best when ineptly aping other bands consider that nobody outside America is even attempting to approach the skyscraping majesty of the aforementioned usual suspects, and it's to their credit that the Fries get so close. On their current trajectory, and with the assistance of Mr Fridmann, a great album is within their grasp.