|©2000 Matlock Records
1. 3X3 Lines
2. The Slow Attack
3. The Arabesque
4. Beyond Action And Reaction
5. I Am All Kinds Of Illegal
6. La Vie Immédiate
8. Inverted Commas Surround The Inferior
9. Synopsis In Programme
10. Capacity Or Function?
Now this is some seriously innovative punk rock. The Plan cut through all the slavish and smug indie rock diarrhea of their native Halifax (it's just not what it used to be, k?) and move the earth with forty minutes of caustic, abrasive and intelligent noiserock that finds melody, subtlety, Fugazi, and the kind of throat shredding intensity that Deadguy used to wreck the place with in the early 90s.
But these guys aren't simply hitting the record button and throwing their instruments down the stairs. Nor can critic-guy find a simple peg upon which to hang their sound; much of The Plan related press is satisfied by identifying a "math rock" motif for This Time Is Not This Place. It is true - there is much tonal complexity here to speak of (especially the stop-start riff-trading of "The Arabesque", yikes!) but this sucker bleeds with energy and spontaneity that said label fails to address. It is of course not metal, and given the fact that the guitars are kept honest by utilizing actual distortion at key moments only, something is responsible for creating such eye-popping discord, right?
Yes, that's right kids, this is a damn fresh approach to punk rock. There are riffs all over the place. Interesting, original, and memorable riffs. Bookended by low-key moments such as "The Slow Attack" and "La Vie Immédiate", showing off a shifty, jazzy rhythm section, the band pays gracious tribute to Fugazi's melodic emo before lauching back into the stomping, elegant, and harsh battering that characterizes the record as a whole. Did I mention this bastard is beautifully cohesive?
Of course this review wouldn't be complete without mention of the vocalists. M. Ogilvie and M. Catano (bass and guitar, respectively) keep things fierce with vocal styles that alternate between singo and screamo, often weft amongst one another and rarely harmonized. Again, The Plan take an interesting approach here: never stretched to the absolute limit of human endurance, all the screaming is damn expressive, intense and human where it could be just tedious, robotic and kitschy. Lyrics seem to be something of a panorama of various ideas and phrases, although quite interesting in their own right: "Our enemy's going to get his face in the papers/My baby's going to get her face in the papers/The end of me is going to be my face in the papers" ends "I Am All Kinds of Illegal", which seems to link crime and the music industry.
This Time Is Not This Place is one of the best releases of 2000, and to be perfectly blunt, you need to hear this fucking thing. Not just because it rocks monstrously, but you will feel smarter for it. In fact, to overlook it would be a terrible, terrible mistake. It may save your miserable life.
Review by Lee Steadham
Review date: 02/2001