By Greg Maki
Much of the talk about Plush has focused on the all-female lineup and the fact that all four members are under the age of 21. While those are easy—i.e. lazy—hooks for writers and critics, I’m here for the music. And regardless of their gender or ability to legally drink alcohol in the United States, Plush has stormed onto the scene with one of the better hard rock debuts in recent memory.
While it’s tempting to throw out a Halestorm comparison, a more accurate one would be Alter Bridge—fronted by Lzzy Hale—with Moriah Formica emerging as a powerhouse vocalist while also playing guitar and serving as primary songwriter; Bella Parron staking her claim as a guitar goddess in the making (and adding integral backing vocals); and bassist Ashley Suppa and drummer Brooke Colucci forming a thunderous rhythm section. Formica may have spent some time in the national spotlight a couple years ago as a contestant on “The Voice,” but this is a complete band and far from a one-woman show.
Produced by Johnny K (Disturbed, Staind, Megadeth), the self-titled record sounds huge and dynamic without straying from an accessible, rock radio format. After an atmospheric intro, the crunchy riff of “Athena” comes slamming in, leading to one of many anthemic choruses throughout the album. With the opener, the triumphant “Champion” and the hit single “Hate,” which throws a bit of ‘90s grunge into the mix, Plush front-loads the record with its strongest material—though I certainly would not call the rest of it a letdown. Other highlights include “I Don’t Care” with its impressive guitar leads and a mid-song break that should inspire many a crowd singalong; “Will Not Win,” powered by a rhythmic riff; and the moody “Bring Me Down.”
Mellower numbers “Sober,” “Sorry,” “Don’t Say That” and “Walk Away”—“Don’t Say That” is the only one I’d classify as a power ballad in the classic sense—serve as showcases for Formica’s formidable vocals, though I might have cut one of these to make the record a little tighter as a whole. While there are no real weak spots here, 13 tracks is a lot for a listener to take in these days. Some of the songs also might benefit from letting Parron’s leads and solos breathe a bit more. She’s an obvious talent, so let that shine as bright as possible.
These are minor criticisms, however. The overall impression “Plush” leaves is the arrival of a powerful new force in modern hard rock.
Pavement Entertainment – October 29, 2021