The Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower – Inri EP

For better or for worse, The Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower’s latest disc, a three-song EP based around the single “Inri,” represents a definite maturation for the San Diego foursome. The glum, focused track is welcome advance away from the animated yet sonically heterogeneous jazz-punk past, and it represents a more somber attitude than all of the darkest parts of vigorous debut Dissertation, Honey and sophomore slump Love in the Fascist Brothel combined. Most importantly, however, is the band’s realization that it’s acceptable to lessen the tempo and not litter the entire soundscape with squalls, shouts, and shots. By toning down the general ambience of the work, The Plot allows for “Inri”’s depraved riff to resonate with an apocalyptic apprehension and encourage the macabre irreverence of the song’s words. It’s an interesting foil to the group’s scattered beginnings, and I hope it is the birth of a post-punk Plot.

Following the dreary, goth-inclined “Inri” is an inexcusable, kitschy take on Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging.” Why The Plot would choose this, an already tacky single from the weakest of the Berlin trilogy albums, is baffling, but it’s best to not think about the song any longer than the four-minute runtime demands. Absent are the two greatest aspects of the song – Bowie’s terse, undeniable croon and Eno’s galvanic production – and the band recoups for these deficiencies by doing, well, nothing at all. It comes across as dull and conceited; I would wager there have been drunken pub renditions with more soul and entertainment value. The finished product sounds less like a legitimate version of the original and more like a cover of some bizarre adaptation Blur (thankfully) never recorded.

Capping off the short disc is an “Inri” remix by Plot acquaintance and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner. The mix is predictably busier and dancier, but in altering the structure he dilutes the song’s strongest characteristics: that distinct riff and the afflictive vocals. The bass and once-inaudible horns are given extra focus by Zinner, but these small tweaks can’t keep the remix from coming out as a less-ambitious facsimile of the original. Though “Inri” is a tremendous track, and I can’t wait for the band’s next LP, this EP is too large on fluff to be recommended.