The clinical, mechanical sound that so often comes with music born of a laptop can be both a blessing and a curse. Get it right, and the result can be something cerebral and meaningful despite the lack of physical human interaction. Get it wrong, and it can be empty and soulless. Eaux have managed to sidestep this trap by making laptop-style music on actual instruments, and in doing so have created an album which blurs the line between retro and futuristic techno, yet always with an analogue soul.
It’s this feel that gives ‘Plastics’ an often retrospective sound. Sian Ahern’s distant coos that almost drown amongst the records pulsing synths are like a Debbie Harry/Donna Summer hybrid, the latter’s disco 70’s disco sound a recurring theme on the album. ‘Sleeper’ has a retro-ghostly feel to the vocals that somehow feels Bladerunner-esque, or like a soundtrack to 1984’s dystopian city.
Yet amongst the classic there lies something definitively futuristic. ‘Pressure Points’ has sci-fi soundtrack potential in abundance, while ‘Blue Tunnel’s slower, bassier pace conjures images of flashing strobes and zooming hover cars. Despite all this travel through space and time, however, Eaux always manage to sound constantly coherent and in complete control. It’s a quality that makes this thoroughly cinematic record something quite special.