'British Plastic' is RKC's (Formerly Roses Kings Castles) third album to date. Ostensibly the solo project of one time Babyshambles drummer Adam Ficek, RKC are his more electro leaning outlet for channelling his own "Odd pop" creations. Described as a clash between "The Buzzcocks and The Beta Band" RKC are if nothing else an interesting hybrid. The album is released on Adam's own Sycamore Club label and follows on from the 2008 eponymous debut and 2010's 'Suburban Timebomb'. Although Adam is the creative, multi-instrumental figurehead of the band he has also enlisted the help of previous partner Patrick Walden, on guitar, to give some raw power and energy to the 11 track set.
The revolving, measured and slightly restrained, guitar riffs of 'These Are The Days (I'll Stand Up Myself)' start British Plastic off. The closing bass line kicks along to some tribal percussive beats and an almost B.A.D (Big Audio Dynamite) sound washes about in what can only be a result of the hangover left from Adam's experiences of working with Mick Jones. 'I Can't Say' then clears the air with a drum machine driven synth laden vibrancy, complete with a cheeky little bass line and a 'Living By Numbers' like loop.
'Here Comes The Summer' (The first single taken from the album), with its power chord and electro noise back drop, followed by the more laid back and slower 'Kittens Become Cats', show where the band are at, what they are trying so hard to achieve, but also sadly where they come up just a little short. They are both good songs but, unfortunately, not in the same league as some of their contemporaries. RKC may be unlucky to have found themselves vying for credibility in the same musical market as Metronomy but in the end it may also make them stronger and all the better for it. Both make great use of the synth/keyboard/guitar/percussive mix but there is a clear gap in execution.
For those fans still in need of a new Babyshambles fix, the swinging 60's Kinks pop brevity of 'People And Places' is as close as you're going to get on the album. Adam, to his credit, has seen no obvious need to pursue a more of the same approach, preferring a fresher sound to that with which he may have become associated. 'Seeds Of Moscow', starts with a near Dire Straits riff, twisted just enough, and combines it with a lyrical simplicity akin to that of Depeche Mode's 'New Life'. Ironically, or aptly, (take your pick) it is also the most commercial offering from British Plastic.............."I could move to Moscow, or work for Tesco".
British Plastic slides out with more of a whimper than a bang; the track listing is too top heavy. 'Mothers Pride', 'If The Rain Comes' and the lighter stripped back gentle fair of 'I Let Go' see a slowing of pace and rhythm. The lack of any urgency seems to coincide with a dip in quality. Only the, 'odd' as advertised, manic and frenetic noise of 'Cockroach' offers up something new in the last third.
However he'd like to spin it, and I'm not saying he would, Adam Ficek, is still best remembered for his work with Babyshambles. Trying to extricate himself from that now abandoned box may take a while longer than he'd anticipated. Whilst RKC's British Plastic is by no means a bad record, it is not sufficiently memorable to delivery him up as great solo artist. There are many deft touches, some glimpses of what could be and some nice hooks that make British Plastic worth a listen, but just not enough to make you listen again.