Published Jun 08, 2016When you've been around since 1991, you basically have two options: get with the times, or latch more firmly onto the sound that was your making. Like the Prodigy or the Chemical Brothers, Plaid have opted for the latter option, but unlike those two, they can still pull it off.
Thankfully, they got out of their fruitless movie soundtrack cul-de-sac a few years ago, returning to Warp with Scintilli in 2011. Since then, they've rolled out a nice collection of quirky blips that fit snugly into the sound they've established, if perhaps a little too snugly.
The Digging Remedy follows the same format as a large chunk of Plaid's albums, in that it's got some amazing tracks — good enough to justify the legendary status that they've achieved — but enough average ones that the finished product inevitably gets pulled back to a few shades above mediocrity. Leading the pack are tracks like the hair-raising opener "Do Matter," "Yu Mountain," with its beautiful cacophony of clangs, and "CLOCK," which uses that ever-satisfying, old IDM chestnut of a bouncing ball effect to much success. Such heights are then marred, however, by some atonal, flute-like elements on "Lambswood."
One thing that Plaid have gotten consistently better at, however, is subtlety. There's nary a track on The Digging Remedy that doesn't gradually introduce elements into view, like landmarks slowly appearing on the horizon, a tack they've nailed since their return to Warp. It's only gotten better since their last album, Reachy Prints.
Plaid remain enjoyable, if a little stuck in a rut. Staunch Plaid fans will find plenty of joy in The Digging Remedy, but then, why wouldn't they? They've heard this record before. (Warp)