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Plush: Rage On

July 4, 2008 – 17:10 by John

It’s full steam ahead for one of South Africa’s most promising soft-rock bands. Plush, very simply, is a good, band. You know — the type doesn’t leave you guessing as to what they’re up to, and delivers a fun, singalong live act. But wait a minute — when did they become so popular?

It’s true. No lies. The self-titled ‘acoustic sensation’ has got more white chicks at their gigs than the Camps Bay Democratic Alliance meeting, and latest album Rage On is clearly a professional product catering for an expanding legion of fans.

Plush is an unabashed Christian outfit with a message of hope and love. Sure, there’s no doubt they attract criticism for the more soppy, often Americanised lyrical content (“God knows you were my best friend, and I know you were a Godsend” / “you put your hand on the Bible”), and for prayer imagery in their videos. But at the end of the day, a band that can’t take criticism can’t survive. And there’s clearly a message behind the preaching: give thanks, and persevere. More bands with a real message, please.

Opening with ‘With Grace Grew Tall’, singer/guitarist Rory Eliot launches the carefree, 11-track holiday feel of the album. With a 6/8 swing feel, ‘Hope’ features some strong vocals and a positive message of perseverance. However, it’s probably ‘Lucky Fish’ that you’ve sung along to at the gigs (“I’m guessing it all takes time”).

When the menacing electric opening riffs of ‘Warfare’ roll in, be aware that you’re about to be subjected to straight-forward spiritual imagery, taking the form of the eternal battle between good and evil. Mellow following track “These Days” is a vocal one-stop rest-stop for the weary soul, and you may wanna get it on at the end of the evening.

Whether or not you’re aware of the Plush story, the common theme is reflected clearly and brightly in the album’s carefully phrased and metered lyrical content. Eliot is the creative backbone behind this album, and one can easily imagine the making-of this local musician to include scenes of beachside campfires and broad smiles. Rage On is a tangible success story of picking oneself up and moving on.