The Plastic Pals
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The Plastic Pals

Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
Band Rock Americana

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This band has not uploaded any videos

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"Arresting full-length début"

Defining a band as "power-pop" always seems to be damning it with faint praise, for now matter how sophisticated its manifestation, there is something inescapably lightweight about the appellation. The Plastic Pals are a case in point, for despite the fact that they even refer to themselves as power-pop, they are far more interesting than that term would suggest, blending psychedelia, alt-country, garage rock, and post punk into their robust sound. There are especially hints of the Paisley Underground and it is thus entirely natural that erstwhile Green On Red keyboardist Chris Cacavas guests on a couple of tracks.

Yet whilst the Plastic Pals wear their influences on their sleeve, they successfully shape them into their own image and although there might not be a great deal of originality on display here, they are never unimaginatively derivative. Opener Here Comes the Sun is a perfect example of their ability to produce vibrant and visceral songs which tap straight into rock's collective unconscious. With the exception of the alt-country leanings of the title track and the more overtly post-punk Suicide Bomber, many of the songs conform to this same pattern and whilst it might grow a little predictable over the course of the album, it is impossible to dispute their facility for the template.

Throughout, Häkan Soold proves that he is a forceful, distinctive vocalist and despite the Swedish origins of the band, there are none of the problems with diction which so often plague those singing in a second language. Mention must also be made of the guitar work of Soold and Anders Sahlin. The latter's leads on songs such as The Best Kept Secret or Long and Lonely are a glorious combination of wiry and melodic, often recalling the work of Chuck Prophet. The fact that guitar solos are such a prominent feature of the band's sound is a testament to their rock classicism and when they engage with that tradition so successfully, it is difficult to complain.

Kai Roberts/Americana UK
Reviewers Rating: 8/10

http://www.americana-uk.com/auk/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=4348&meid=61
- Americana UK


"The Plastic Pals - Good Karma Cafe"

The Plastic Pals
Good Karma Cafe
Polythene Records

The Plastic Pals, a four-piece from Stockholm, led by the energetic and enthusiastic Hakon `Hawk`Sooldt, come roaring out of the traps with a dual guitar attack and a nigh close to perfect instinct for all that´s right about rock `n´ roll. They are unashamedly based on a Groovies/Powerpop/Paisley template and they deliver the goods with unerring accuracy, It´s no wonder that Chris Cacavas can be found playing along here, and that Sid Griffin chose them to be his Plastic Ryders for the recent Paisley celebration.

Across ten tunes here there´s a continous drive and variety. Hawk´s voice suggests an earthy, rootsy personality. His always intriguing lyrics are presented with a clarity that lets every word be heard, though this is a band that´s never reticent about allowing the guitars to do the talking. Exuberant opener `Here Comes The Sun´ definitely sets the stall out and before you´ve got over the thrill of that the exciting intro to `She´s Going Back´ has you hooked all over again.

That´s how it continues: `Long And Lonely´ may be something of a slower lament, and the title track, an almost-ballad carrying a deep undercurrent of loss and regret, but we´re never far from a rolling highway. And like all the best Steve Wynn records, in some respects it´s just a taster. There´s a mélange of sound at the end of `There´s Wind On The Moon´ that live could expand into a frenzy as fine as anything the Miracle 3 might come up with.

Essentially then a collection of classic guitar songs anchored by a rare pop intelligence, seldom found these days, but always very welcome.

Nick West

Published in Bucketfull of Brains #73

http://www.bucketfullofbrains.com
- Bucketfull of Brains


"THE PLASTIC PALS 'GOOD KARMA CAFE'"

Eateries have played as significant part in the evolution of rock'n'roll as the more ubiquitous sex and drugs over the years. Barney's Beanery in Los Angeles often kept Jim Morrison going when he forgot which motel he was staying at; The Clash met for a provocative egg on toast each morning while they were rehearsing the songs for 'London Calling' and up in Liverpool the local common denominator was the infamous Brian's cafe where the late Bunnymen drummer Pete De Freitas was reputed to have managed four full breakfasts one morning. And his skill behind the kit sure as hell didn't diminish.

Cracking Swedish power popsters THE PLASTIC PALS, though, have taken the concept one stage further with their debut album, 'Good Karma Cafe', which is named after a sadly defunct, but hugely popular drop-in eaterie aimed at servicing the culinary requirements of travelling musicians passing through McComb, Southern Mississippi. The romance of this little joint in the middle of nowhere which cared enough to try and make things happen was more than enough to fire the imagination of Plastic Pals' frontman Hakan 'Hawk' Soold: a man who knows a thing or three about the wide open spaces and truckstops fleshing out John Steinbeck's novels.

Excellent though it is, however, the song 'Good Karma Cafe' – when taken on its' own – is enough to sell you something of a dummy where The Plastic Pals are concerned. It's a gorgeously wistful, Americana-tinged affair with plenty of space for guest Jason Shogren's regal pedal steel to waft around and some notably lonesome Neil Young-style harmonica. But while it's a great, moving tribute, it's by no means the be-all and end-all of Pals' sonic lore.

Indeed – along with the crackly and lo-fi closer 'Let's Pretend This Isn't True' – the title track is one of the few places where The Plastic Pals' adherence to beefy and intelligent power-pop lets up. Opener 'Here Comes The Sun' (no, not that one) is far truer to the record's ideal: bursting with vitality and crunching Mod-pop energy without feeling the need to wear a Target T-shirt, it signals the opening of a fine, wholly consistent two guitars, bass and drums record which is cut from durable rock'n'roll cloth without ever sounding horribly derivative.

Much of what follows is equally gritty, disciplined and impassioned. Crunching rockers like 'There's Wind On The Moon', 'Gone With The Wind' and 'Shadow Of A Doubt' nod towards tough'n'tender favourites from both side of the pond from Television to The Godfathers and prime Elvis Costello but ultimately refuse to sound like anything other than The Plastic Pals on fire on their own terms.

Clearly, The Pals are a fabulous unit. The rhythm section are guy-rope tight, but still swing with the best of 'em; frontman Soold has a commanding set of lungs on him and oozes presence throughout and in guitarist Anders Sahlin (I'm assuming he's responsible) they have a real star-in-waiting. I'd begun to think the classic lead guitarist was a virtually extinct breed these days, but clearly no-one told Sahlin who proceeds to peel off solos full of the kind of flash and elegance that even The Only Ones' John Perry would be proud of on songs like 'Gone With The Wind', 'There's Wind On The Moon' and the quality, slow burning ballad 'Long & Lonely'.

The other thing that really sets The Plastic apart is Soold's skill as a lyricist. Occasionally, he conjures up a neo-psychedelic mysticism, as on 'Gone With The Wind' (“a sea burst through the park and a clipper made the scene/ it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen”) which recalls the cosmic oddness of The Ramones' 'Highest Trails Above', but mostly his observations whether personal ('Best Kept's Secret”s vivid and hearbreaking observations of death) or political (the darkly topical 'Suicide Bomber') are both effective and memorable. And when they're allied to The Pals' magnificent sonic fire power they're clearly onto a winner.

'Good Karma Cafe', then, is an establishment of finesse and taste. Whether it will become a widespread stopping-off point on the rock'n'roll map remains to be seen, but its' menu is scrumptious and the proprietors are good enough to wow all-comers from Mississippi to Malmo. I'd recommend heading in for a late breakfast and staying awhile when the opportunity arises as you may well find yourself becoming a regular.

Tim Peacock, Whisperin & Hollerin
Reviewers grading: 9/10

http://www.whisperinandhollerin.com/reviews/review.asp?id=5864 - Whisperin & Hollerin


"The Plastic Pals "Good Karma Café""

The Plastic Pals "Good Karma Café" (Polythene/Plugged)

”If Håkan Soold had been Englishman or American, he would have belonged to a chosen group of internationally recognised, but very modestly selling cult heroes. With his high quality and partially psychedelic rock, his limber guitar strands almost at the level of Tom Verlaine, and his habile voice quite close to Ian McNabb (consider that a recommendation!), he should be sorted with just that kind of artists, together with Richard Lloyd, Chris Spedding and Matthew Sweet.

His background in the classic band Dom Dummaste, whose Lars Cleveman makes a guest performance here, would have contributed to the cult, while guests like Green On Red's Chris Cacavas would have been a little something for all the experts.

However, Håkan Soold and his Plastic Pals aren't Englishmen or Americans, but Swedish, and that makes the cult almost negligibly small. Still, whoever find The Plastic Pals in some way, should be congratulated!”

- Patrik Forshage / Nöjesguiden - Nöjesguiden


"The Plastic Pals "Good Karma Café""

Here you have a Swedish band who plays a groovy sort of retro rock with garage-flirts all over. And they're doin' it really good with a lot of help from the producer Björn Öqvist who've worked with SpaceAge Baby Jane and Pennebaker mentioning two. Third out - the cool and softer "Long And Lonely" is one winner and the rocker "The Best Kept Secret" that smells Television a long way is another one (with Chris Cacavas from Green On Red as a guest). Television is one name to mention when you compare the band to others... I would also wanna mention The Strokes, a young and horny Costello and Velvet Underground if they would have been focused on melodies instead of drugs. A really well done filet of music.

Pär Winberg/melodic.net

http://www.melodic.net/reviewsOne.asp?revnr=7055
- melodic.net


"PLASTIC PALS "good karma cafe""

hailing from stockholm, the plastic pals debut long player is a powerhouse of guitar-drenched power-pop. featuring stellar guest chris cacavas (green on red) on organ and taking cues from the likes of the flamin groovies, dream syndicate and gun club, this is soulful, driving music, with as much melody as muscle.

Rough Trade

https://www.roughtrade.com/site/shop_detail.lasso?search_type=sku&sku=307109
- Rough Trade


"The Plastic Pals - "Good Karma Cafe""

We loved their EP! Their debut long player delivers on the EP's promise and is a powerhouse of shimmering guitar-drenched garage/power-pop. Chris Cacavas (Green On Red) makes a guest appearance on organ/electric piano throughout the proceedings! Taking cues from the likes of the Flamin' Groovies, Dream Syndicate and Gun Club, this is soulful, driving music, with as much melody as muscle. "Magic melodies with an underlying feeling of something dark." - Yoursongs.se "Anyone who could imagine Chris Spedding fronting Television would understand where these guys are coming from" - Patrik Forshage Hey, we love Chris Spedding! "On their homepage they list Television, Steve Wynn, Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, and the Flamin' Groovies as influences, and thus raising high expectations. Fortunately, they have both the skills and the taste to add up to these expectations!" - Ox-Fanzine "A groovy touch of melodic magic and a sense of darkness one just vaguely senses...." - Zero Music Magazine "These guys are no three-button types, nor are they ace faces, but by heck they make good music. And that's what counts in the end after all!" - Mod Radio UK "Shadow Of A Dream" has a guitar riff that reminds us of Buffalo Springfield's "Rock and Roll Woman"! "Suicide Bomber" has a kind of early Teardrop Explodes feel to it! EXCELLENT!!!

Kool Kat Musik

https://www.koolkatmusik.com/showproduct.aspx?Productid=4964&Sectionid=1
- Kool Kat Musik


"THE PLASTIC PALS "GOOD KARMA CAFÉ""

This is as a consistently good melting pot of influences as I’ve heard in recent times. I’ll leave you to determine who or what these are but will add my consideration that Häkan’s vocal reminds me of Ian McNabb of The Icicle Works. “She’s Going Back” was the one that sealed that comparison being that I always thought it would be cool if The Del Lords covered “Understanding Jane”.

There really is a neo-Liverpool sound to this Stockholm combo that sets this set aside from much of the psychedelic pop that is mane under laboratory conditions to a business plan. The Pals manage to circumnavigate all that with what is obviously a passion to simply create bloody good songs and see where those lead ‘em.

If you heard one of these cuts on the radio then whichever one it was, you’d want to know who it was. Those guitars are utterly infectious as they jangle and pummel, sometimes simultaneously. If what goes around does indeed come around then their music will take them far.

Lindsay Hutton/The Next Big Thing

http://nextbigthing.blogspot.com
- Lindsay Hutton "The Next Big Thing"


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

”Tighter than Willy Deville´s crocodile boots.”
(Anders Tapola, Swedish paper Smålandsposten)
Magic melodies with a dark edge. Manna from guitar heaven for friends and fans of The Long Ryders, The Dream Syndicate, Flamin´ Groovies, The Velvets and Television.
New album Turn The Tide (produced by Chris Cacavas, ex Green on Red/Giant Sand) released February 6th 2013 on Polythene Records. In Sweden and Europe distributed via Record Heaven and in the USA via Kool Kat Musik.

After a million years of free-floating in space from galaxy to galaxy, finally the last remaining batch of ”your plastic pal who´s fun to be with” has returned to the mothership and set up a permanent base in – of all places at this end of the Universe – Stockholm, Sweden. This four-piece psychedelic garage rock combo The Plastic Pals was formed in Spring 2005. Guilty as charged is singer/songwriter/guitarist Hawk, aka Håkan Soold, who brought together Anders Sahlin (a guitarist who Hawk played with in the band Piglet in the 1980s) with Sweden´s answer to Sly&Robbie Olov Öqvist, drums, and Bengt Alm, bass.

Take the fiery guitars of bands like Television, Flamin´ Groovies and The Dream Syndicate, add a pinch of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground and a dash of magic melodies with a dark edge. Bring to the boil with a soulful and groovy base of drums and bass. Stir well and season to taste with the finest spices from the legacy of rock and roll – from Hank to Hendrix, from Gram to The Long Ryders, from The Beatles to Alex Chilton, from Townes to Paul K, from Coltrane to Television. The list goes on… Bon Appétit! There you have the taste and the sound of these guitar slingers from Stockholm, Sweden – The Plastic Pals. Dinner is served – Bon Appetit!

In 2008 The Plastic Pals released their debut album Good Karma Café (with guest appearances by former Green on Red keyboard maestro Chris Cacavas). A somewhat americana-tinged affair, and yet still true to the twin guitar-paisley-garage-powerpop-New York rock aesthetics the band presented on their debut EP The Band That´s Fun To Be With (2006). The album received really good reviews, in Sweden as well as in the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. Tunes from the album have received airplay and/or is receiving airplay in the USA (WFMU and WFNX), the UK (BBC6 and the House for Mercy show at Total Radio), Greece, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain and France – with A-rotaion for 4 months on a radio station in Lyon.

The Plastic Pals have opened for ex-Green on Red guitar slinger Chuck Prophet and Australian garage rock legends The New Christs – with Rob Younger from Radio Birdman and Jim Dickson from The Barracudas – and Steve Wynn, founder of The Dream Syndicate.

In 2008 The Plastic Pals were invited to London by Gurbir “Another Cowboy” Dhillon (a passionate music aficionado who´s released albums with The Dream Syndicate and CBGB´s legendaries Band of Outsiders in the 1980:s) and Nick West (editor of magazine Bucketfull of Brains) for a celebration of The Paisley Underground at the Windmill, Brixton. Besides playing a regular Plastic Pals set, the Pals backed ex-Long Ryder Sid Griffin on a set of tunes by The Long Ryders, and then closed the night with a set of songs by The Only Ones, The Dream Syndicate, Green on Red, The Velvet Undergound and Danny&Dusty – with the whole venue singing along to the latter´s tune “Song for the dreamers”, The Plastic Pals were back in London for shows in 2009.

A new album – Turn The Tide (produced by Chris Cacavas) – was released in February 2013 The Plastic Pals released a new album – Turn The Tide – produced by Chris Cacavas. And the album has already gained a lot of airplay in the USA, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany and in the UK.

Good Karma Café took The Plastic Pals to London. Perhaps Turn The Tide will take them even farther. In May 2013 they are playing at the festival International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool as well as doing a couple of shows in London. There are also plans for tours to the US and Italy.

Band Members