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Pitchfork Review: Subliminal Plastic Motives

Published: 05/1996
Author: Ryan Schreiber

Rating: 8.0

Remember being stunned the first time you found out Nine Inch Nails was Trent Reznor... all by himself? It was a weird concept. One guy who writes, sings, and plays all the instruments by himself and still goes by a bandname. Now there are countless "bands" like it popping up everywhere.

Well, Self is Matt Mahaffey, but he's certainly no rip-off artist. In fact, the closest I've come to describing the music is: Matthew Sweet with a sampler, multiplied by hip-hop beats. Uh, I guess you just have to hear it.

Almost every song on the disc is a winner, though. Namely the unconventional time signatures of "Lucid Anne," the driving power-pop of "Borateen," the chugging "Cannon," and the jazz balladry of "Big Important Nothing." If you dig the power-pop, Subliminal Plastic Motives is like a can of Jolt.