Released only in Japan in 2002, Plush's second album lives up to the acclaim it has garnered ever since. Fulfilling the promise of their pared-down debut, More You Becomes You, Fed is a symphony of Burt Bacharach-inspired pop, blaxploitation-influenced soul and timeless balladeering, bound together by Liam Hayes' uncompromising vision. "My creation has drowned me," he sings in Whose Blues, yet he orchestrates the shifting moods and fast-flowing stream of ideas with skill.
Considering how few albums (two) Plush had put out prior to this 2004 release, it could be viewed as something of an indulgence to make his third full-length record an alternate version of his prior CD, 2002's Fed. Then again, considering how long fans have had to wait for the notoriously unprolific Plush to issue albums -- it took eight years after Plush's 1994 debut single to even produce those two -- it could be viewed as a blessing that at least something else has been made available. Underfed contains, according to the brief liner notes, the "rough tracks" for Fed, which was subjected to a great deal of additional recording and overdubs on the same songs.
Plush' s new album Fed is the result, it seems, of years -- decades even -- of pent up pop frustration. Until now, Plush (essentially Chicagoan Liam Hayes and assorted friends) has only been able to let off steam in bursts and spurts, and even the piano/vox crooning of 1998's much-heralded The More You Becomes You felt more like the skeleton of a beast than the monster itself. With Fed the volcano has finally erupted and in doing so has washed away all roads in its path.