PLAINS is the brainchild of Michael McGinnis. Born and raised outside of Chicago - McGinnis began making his own music in earnest just a few years ago when he moved to Miami to sleep on couches and work as a studio rat. Spending endless late nights employing a healthy amount of bourbon and cycling through a few albums worth of songs, the album PLAINS was born. On this eponymous debut record, McGinnis molds a sound and a style that is equally indebted to a love of blue-collar punk and rock bands as much as the technical world and history of audio engineering. There's a studio polish with a heavy coat of permanent stains on all the walls. Lead single “Innovator” barrels in with a chunky kick to the ground, while faded synths and chorused guitars linger in the background. The track exemplifies the PLAINS sound with each instrument fuzzed out, leaving plenty of air to breathe.
The entire album was played live by McGinnis and the sound falls comfortably somewhere in between an arena and a basement. Lyrically, there's some dark stuff in here. On songs like "End Of The World" and "All I Want" - you get the well-relatable sound of something once solid, now somber and falling apart. The debut album is ripe with the fruits of a patient and pensive rumination. This is tightly wound rock that's been mulled over and perfected in the just right ways.
PLAINS offers a well-balanced blend of studio wizardry and polish with saturated, fuzzy coating over various instruments. Perhaps most effecting is the subtle frankness McGinnis employs in addressing the death of his father on the searching "Sleep Deprived" and closing number "Good Son." Yet the album isn't weighed down in sad subject matter. Barnstormers "Roots" and the viperous "Stains" lift the album with angry confusion turned to bar anthems. And on songs like "Hang On" and "Black Feeling," as well as a general vibe that carries on throughout the thirteen tracks, it would appear that this is a guy who has figured some of it out, and is now putting to tape what's been on his mind for the past five years.