Toasted Plastic- Toasted Plastic (EP) 8.5
Few experiences have been more surreal for me than seeing the stream of Toasted Plastic’s “Shevell” on the front page of Stereogum. I’ve known these guys since middle school, and to see their new track listed between new music from Ryan Adams and Lil’ Wayne was almost incomprehensible. I say this every time I review anything new from them, but to watch them grow from a jokey duo writing songs about planets and Rice Crispy Treats in the eighth grade to a searing punk band has been nothing short of astonishing. I could go on and on about how our shared roots in Ridgewood, New Jersey, attending the same shows, coming of age to the same music, gives me a special connection to this trio, but I won’t. You don’t need that connection, or to have geographical and personal ties to this music’s origins, to know this EP really slays.
These guys haven’t really changed the formula much since their last full-length, last year’s excellent June Highs. But they’ve never needed to. Once they found their sound a few years ago, these guys made every new song sound like a revelation. Their new EP clocks in at just over eleven minutes, but feels shorter, with every song making its statement quickly and effectively before making way for the next. Opener “Shevell” is one of the band’s finest moments to date. Combining their inherent ear for melodies with the constant tempo changes of math-rock, “Shevell” is a prime example of the sort of pop-punk/emo/math hybrid sound that makes the band so endearing. “Haunted” is bookended by frenzied sections that border on hardcore, but lying in the middle is a gorgeous mid-tempo section that finds Sam Kendrick and Cameron Konner’s voices working flawlessly together. “Excellence In Motion” is more of a slow burner, while “Jemco” is a wonderful closer that really sows the EP together neatly.
I was a tad too young to experience Ridgewood’s Real Estate rise to international fame, and still a couple years behind the wave of bands that followed them. Toasted Plastic are from my year, and have left an incredible impression on the town’s music scene in their wake. Although at one point it seemed crazy to think that they would climb the same ladder as Ridgewood’s other famed groups, the idea isn’t at all farfetched anymore. As long as they keep making records that are this tight, this catchy and this powerful, there’s no limit to where these guys will go. Along the way, they’ve been making me quite proud to be from Ridgewood, a sentiment I have rarely found myself indulging in.