Plaster Cast, which currently features members split across the country, can trace their origins back to when producer Alex Esk started the project with vocalist Cameron Wilson back in 2011 — while both were studying video art at UC San Diego. Wilson’s sister Michaela Lustig joined the project as a second vocalist. Then producer/engineer Brah1m, who Esk met when they both worked for The Real Housewives joined.
And with that lineup, the members of Plaster Cast wrote and recorded their debut EP, 2016’s Permanence, which received critical praise from Gorilla vs. Bear, The Fader, Vice, and BBC Radio. Adding to a breakthrough year for the outfit, EP single “Sunless,” a melancholic, downtempo pop song centered around Wilson and Lustig’s uncanny harmonizing and a warped beyond recognition Adele sample, and “Undecided,” which featured Foxes in Fiction appeared on a number of year-end lists.
The project’s sophomore EP Control is slated for an August 12, 2022 release. Understandably, informed by the vast changes of the sociopolitical climate that have occurred since 2016’s Permanence, Control EP thematically is a large, perceptive grown towards modernity with the EP’s material touching on various concepts of individualism vs. collectivism, intimacy vs. alienation, and the self-consciousness of empathy — but in an understated, largely philosophical fashion.
The EP also sees a deeper sense of collaboration between the project’s core members, inspired by the insight that relinquishing one’s own ideas can provide both empowerment and diminishment simultaneously. And as a result, the EP reportedly feels more like a group of friends in a personal therapy session, in which all their collective fears, joys and uncertainties are shared in a way that touches upon a more expansive reflection of the human condition.
The material is rooted within the intersection of warmth and isolation — and the band’s desire to acknowledge their own literal and symbolic closeness and distance, shaped by each member’s own reality. “The songs are connected by themes of remoteness and looking at relationships as a negotiation of what you get and what you give up,” Plaster Cast’s Wilson explains. “Ultimately the work of looking at your place in your relationships is worth the pain it can cause, as we are useless alone.”
But ultimately, the central theme at the heart of Control is the relinquishment of control in one’s life: The control of our thoughts, the control over the circumstances and impermanence of life, the control over a world that’s often confusing, uncertain and mad. And paradoxically through relinquishing control — and the possibility of it — there often comes a sense of great mindfulness and calm.
Control‘s lates single “Waves” begins with an ethereal introduction featuring dreamily cooed vocals and atmospheric synths. Around the 25 second mark, the song quickly ramps up to feature a relentless, disco-tinged, motorik groove paired with dreamily delivered harmonies, mournful synth pads and an infectious hook. While sonically bearing a resemblance to Chromatics and others, the song expresses an aching yearning for understanding and companionship in a desperate, uncertain moment.