September 14, 2021 The Plot In You – Swan Song (Album Review)
This is not an emotional farewell to the band and their music, but, rather, a ritual cleansing of the past. The Plot In You’s fifth studio LP, Swan Song, is the venomous kiss that arrives on Friday, September 17, 2021 via Fearless Records.
Known for their uncensored lyrical intimacy and transparent emotions, the Ohio quartet formed nearly 11 years ago. Quick to deliver their full-length debut, First Born, in 2011, they began to build a name for themselves thanks to their authenticity—which has certainly not been harmed by Vocalist Landon Tewers’ penchant for raw divulgences. With the release of 2013’s Could You Watch Your Children Burn, 2015’s Happiness in Self Destruction, and 2018’s Dispose, The Plot In You achieved a continuous evolution that built on their sincere foundations, layering atmospheric soundscapes over the band’s brutal crush.
Remaining true to this blueprint, but beginning to venture further outside its inked lines, the band continues to push forward on their latest release, Swan Song. Another entry into their sonic journal, the 10-song collection culls together more of The Plot In You’s eclectic influences to mold a sound that takes its predecessor, Dispose, even further away from anything that could be classified as “-Core.”
Co-produced by Tewers and the inimitable Drew Fulk (Lil Wayne, Motionless In White), Swan Songs is, as previously mentioned, far from an adieu to touring and recording. Instead, the LP was borne of The Plot In You’s—Tewers, Guitarist Josh Childress, Bassist Ethan Yoder, and Drummer Michael Cooper—collective frustrations and struggles. It carries a weight that is borne, not of distorted guitars or pummeling percussion, but it’s subject matter—with themes of learning to let go, handling disappointments, saving oneself, and more.
These dark themes arrive in the first haunting notes of “Letters To A Dead Friend.” Experimenting with a million sound profiles within the length of one goodbye, the band defies genre to anchor Tewers’ palpable pain and anger. It’s a track that sets the theme for Swan Song, which will explore more within the framework of each individual offering than most releases do across their entire runtime. From blistering to entrancing, catchy to clawing desperately, each moment is a new entry into the diary that formulates this release.
But don’t mistake “experimentation” as a suggestion that the album is all radio-friendly cash grabs. With its Industrial-tainted moments, “Fall Again” hits like a Wall of Death, and the frenetic percussion of “Whole Without Me” slays. First single “Face Me” toes the line, playing with glitchy Synthpop and viciousness to relay unadulterated confessions. However, if you’re hoping for Dispose leftovers, the closest you’re going to get is the venomous attack on false idols in “Paradigm” or the sleepwalking “Enemy,” a sensual daydream that rears its bestial head as a bass-pounding nightmare.
Ironically, the atmospheric pleas of “Too Heavy” slow the album’s overall tempo as they echo the languid reflections in “Both To Blame.” Then there’s what is perhaps the album’s most commercial Rock track, “Too Far Gone,” with a super catchy hook that bookends some of Tewers’ best clean vocals to date. But they choose to conclude it all with the ultimate bloodletting: the tangled collisions of “Freed,” simultaneously the most gossamer and brutal offering in the collection.
If you’re so inclined, you could say that Swan Song is The Plot In You’s amo: an album that takes what you love about the band and pulverizes it to ash, only to rebuild something loftier that makes perfect sense—if you have been paying attention, that is. While it’s definitely not as dramatic a departure, in our eyes, at least, it remains clear that these 10 songs are apt to polarize fans. However, if you can see past that all too familiar coat of production wax, what you will find is a pile of crinkled pages, soaked in frustrated tears. Call it what you like, but each fiber of its existence drips with authentic catharsis. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Swan Song 4.5 of 5 stars.