Plastic Barricades – ‘We Stayed Indoors’


The third full-length album from London-based band Plastic Barricades, We Stayed Indoors succeeds with a warming, melodic rock sound — tactfully exploring aspects of self-doubt, living in the moment, and hope amidst a world full of tumult.

“Counting Fireworks” commences the album with apt timing, as we approach the New Year. Steady percussive pit-pattering and mellow guitars complement a laid-back vocal composure, asking: “I wonder if this year will bring more songs that we can sing together when we feel alone.” Trickling, dreamy guitar tones emerge thereafter amidst the uptick in vocal vibrancy, letting out “turn the page again, step into the unknown.” Sudden change, often represented by a new year, can conjure ample introspection, and “Counting Fireworks” achieves that feeling within a crisply melodic rock expanse.

The ensuing “For the Brave” casts lusher spell into its “how can we change?” tender rock swell. Chilly synths glide into acoustic guitar pulses, as quaint vocals emit feelings of feeling lost, and ensuing “paralyzing fear.” The heartfelt “courage to carry on,” chorus emits a sense of perseverance, feeling motivation within a melodic, lush soundscape. “High Wire Balancing Act” achieves a similarly compelling tone and thematic hold, referencing “a strength to carry on,” amidst tumult and a gently absorbing rock/pop arsenal.

A gorgeous rock ascension is also evident on “Second-hand Dreams,” which laments “second-hand dreams swallow the world we breathe,” — reminding of the barriers that prevent one from truly pursuing their dreams, such as cubicle-set workdays. “Forever is Made of Nows” is a thematically cohesive follow-up, emphasizing the importance of the present moment. “Stop counting the days, and make the days count — forever is made of nows,” the vocals encourage alongside twinkling keys and twangy acoustics. “Second-hand Dreams” conveys a sort of frustration in relaying certain obstacles, while “Forever is Made of Nows” feels timely in reminding of one’s personal power, in emphasizing the time and present.

“Tallest Trees” enamors with its nature-minded symbolism and soft aesthetic, with twinkling piano and serene guitar strums. The vocals guide a narrative that traverses the enduring presence of nature, particularly embodied by towering trees. Past the three-minute mark, a brass-laden emergence appears with textured charm, as lyrics echo reflections on the longevity and encompassing wisdom of nature, specifically the “tallest trees” that have borne witness to the tumultuous history of humanity.

“Jumping over the shadow and into the light,” the vocals soar amidst organs on the concluding “Dust of Former Lives,” making for a resonating finale in its depictions of new-found self-empowerment and changes for a better life. We Stayed Indoors is a compelling success from Plastic Barricades, who also have released a series of music videos for various album tracks, including the stop-motion video for “For the Brave” (filmed with London-based artist Olly Holovchenko), and those below, like “Counting Fireworks” (created by the band’s long-time art director Elina Pasok):

“Counting Fireworks” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of December 2023’ Spotify playlist.

“Counting Fireworks” is also featured in the genre-based, best-of Spotify compilation Emerging Indie Rock.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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