More Plastic are just groovy, baby

By Andrew Ross

The band is really rocking, psychedelic guitar riffs crash up against funked-out vocals as the mop-topped singer dances wildly on the stage, the floor, the tables, the audience–anywhere he can reach. This may sound like the scene at a wild ’60s rock concert, but it took place this month. The band? Toronto’s More Plastic.

"It’s pretty rock and roll," says frontman Dean Sterling of the band’s style. "It’s a lot more rock and roll than most of the stuff that’s out there now."

Indeed, it is. More Plastic bears a strong connection to the soul and Motown-fueled British Invasion rock music of the mid-to-late ’60s; their material would fit in on the Austin Powers soundtrack rather than Armageddon. This should not to be regarded as a bad thing. More Plastic has originality and creativity where Aerosmith and Bon Jovi have volume.

The band, formed in 1996 from the survivors of the short-lived band Duper Ellipso, is releasing a new album in early 2001 on their own vanity label, Modernation. Sterling feels the new record is "building on what we did before," and also notes that "it’s a pretty smooth ride."

If so, the album would be a stark contrast to the formation of More Plastic, which was anything but smooth. Sterling grew up with guitarist Delko Blazanin, and met Jurica and the Andrews (Zalameda and Innanen) at York University; the group has been breaking up, reforming and changing ever since. The mod band started the vanity label in 1996 with their first release, The 60 Watt Party, followed two years later by The Last Silver Special.

Much as the new album promises to be full of great music, since More Plastic really shines live. Sterling says they’ve got a reputation for stage madness.

"We play rough and wild," he explains.

Drummer Andrew Innanen says their music "makes you wanna dance, makes you wanna drop your pants, maybe even a little romance."

Although one might be tempted to describe More Plastic as a funky mod-art-rock band, Sterling insists that "the primary influence is soul," and has dubbed their unique sound "cold soul," a logical extension of "northern soul." What is cold soul?

"It’s a different kind of soul."

Different is certainly an appropriate word to describe More Plastic, regardless of the context.

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