You got a new stereo with your unexpected $1,400 tax return? Oh, that's bloody great mate/s, but it probably doesn't have the required decimal output to do this record justice. And, unless I've missed some considerable advancements in the state of audio equipment over the past few decades, it also probably doesn't have the required mechanism to swallow you whole, swirl your gutty-wuts around between it's inner cheek linings, tongue and tonsils at an unhealthily rapid pace, reminiscent of Kylie Mole chewing undigested offspring seeds, before regurgitating you into the mouth of a fiery tornado of bong spoke, psychedelic mist and devilish unicorns, dismembering your gentiles and proudly parading them as dangly scrotum earrings.
But Plains isn't all about castration and satanic cloud-galloping horses. In fact, The Laurels' overall approach is actually fairly passive and non-confrontational, side-lining aggression in favour of impenetrable, all-encompassing sound walls. Sonically wide and deep, like Shawn Kemp in his latter years, and also strutting with a similar Reign Man contradictory mix of confidence and unconcerned casualness, this is a record obsessed with skyscraper-sized scales, swirling melodies and theatrical discussions about glaciers, tidal waves and reptile-dominated centuries. For this, Plains deserves... no, scrap that REQUIRES, to be belted at ridiculous volumes. Decibel levels that threaten to burst your ear drums, but choose instead to burrow deep inside your stomach, forcing your eyes shut and your brain to vacate to a distant, fictional place of refuge.
And this reliance on delivery medium is the record's solitarily fault. Whilst perfectly suited for live broadcast (sounding brutal even when you're stuffed into the back corner of an over-sold Annandale Hotel), unfortunately, Plains sounds flattened and suffocated when limited to anything less, including the two dimensions of your inferior iPod headphones on an over-crowded bus on Parramatta Road and/or or pretty much anywhere else where the guidelines of the New South Wales Noise Act are strictly enforced. A worthy document of one of Sydney's finest, but lacking the required overwhelming presence to do them justice.