“Flower Plower” two albums in one

By Greg Dunlap

Listening to the Poster Children’s new LP “Flower Plower” is almost like listening to two different records. As a matter of fact, the differences between the two sides are so great that one could easily question whether it’s actually the same band.

Side two (the sides are placed in reverse of the times they were recorded) was made in 1988 with Ian Burgess in the producer’s chair. The songs on this side sound bright and new, with an energy and freshness that hasn’t been heard anywhere in the Midwest for quite some time.

“Hollywood” starts it right off with a good swift kick and segues straight into “Modern Art” which keeps the high speed antics going full on. The other two songs on the side, “Evidence” and “She Walks,” follow suit just right.

Side one, however, was recorded about a year after side two in Steve Albini’s basement studio. A typical complaint with Albini’s production jobs is that he tends to bury a vocalist in the mix. Thankfully that problem isn’t too apparent here.

The overall sound isn’t all that changed over that year either. Whereas the songs on side two were more straightforward punk rock (and that’s not a complaint by any means,) the songs on side one are much more fully realized. There’s an obvious increase in the amount of time and thought put into them.

It’s a little hard to describe how this change sounds. The songs seem to take that Mudhoney grunge and combine it with a little Red Hot Chili Peppers and maybe some Phantom Tollbooth thrown in for good measure.

Listen for the standout drums on this album, especially with the stereo effects in “Byron’s Song” and the long blistering fills in the side’s closer, “Eye.”

If the Poster Children continue to grow in the ways that “Flower Plower” indicates, then Chicago is going to have a real contender on its hands. “Flower Plower” can be ordered from Limited Potential Records, P.O. Box 268586, Chicago, IL, 60626.