Malcolm Biddle’s more experimental side is alive and well with Dada Plan’s sophomore record, titled The Madness Hides. Flirting with free jazz elements and a psychedelic pop backbone, Malcolm Biddle (a.k.a. Malcolm Jack) shines the infamous blue light on the subject of our obsession with personal devices, again. And in keeping with the precedence set from their debut, the Vancouver 5 piece have created another work of equilibrium, smartly balancing accessibility with artful, bizarre noise. Oh, and there’s the doom and gloom which is appealing to be sure.
The Madness Hides challenges our blind automaticity of technology, and does so without a love story to get in the way. It is a performance that stays true to character with quirky lines and quirkier synth parts. “I want to live on a page / Post pictures from an incidental cage.” Biddle questions whether anything online is actually meaningful and balks at the ever-present exchange of rather uninteresting and useless data (dada?).
If there is a flaw in his dystopia, it is the western tint with which his bias exists. While we use it to promote entertainment and share pictures of perfectly brewed espresso, half a world away social media is being used to raise revolutions and reclaim democracy. There is a deliberate vigour or colour that is missing from Biddle’s reflections both in song and prose. The Madness Hides, in some ways, replicates our digital ebb and flow where everything seems washed in a soft acid brush, dulling the senses of anything real. “What Happened to our world / It was so informative I know/ It vanished in the world / It left just boring things in its glow.” Part spoken word, part poetry, part dystopia, and all psychedelic saxophone, Dada Plan’s sophomore effort is very listenable for an art record. But that’s not the point. It is also enjoyably debatable, though we might be too busy changing our profile status to notice.