Project from J. Robbins
Office Of Future Plans was never supposed to get any further than J. Robbins' hard drive. The songs began as cathartic exercises, cooked up in the singer/guitarist's spare time, with no agenda other than to stay sane by continuing to make music after a lifetime playing and traveling the world in D.C.-based punk-influenced bands like Jawbox and Burning Airlines. The group was hoodwinked into forming when Chicago punk luminaries The Bomb invited J. Robbins to open their Baltimore show in Fall, 2009. Cellist/guitarist Gordon Withers (Bells, The Pauses, and known to many as the "Jawbox-on-cello guy"), bassist/multi-insturmentalist Brooks Harlan (Avec and War on Women), and uber-drummer and long-time collaborator Darren Zentek (Kerosene 454, Oswego, Channels) were all enlisted for what was supposed to be a one-time, just-for-fun gig.
It turned out to be a little too much fun to just do once. So, the band just kept writing and arranging, rehearsing at Robbins' Baltimore recording studio, The Magpie Cage, and committing songs to tape as they came to fruition, with the creative process becoming ever-more collaborative and multi-dimensional. The result is their eponymous 2011 debut, a richly textured record, by turns bombastic ("The Beautiful Barricades"), tuneful ("Your Several Selves") and, sometimes, tastefully psychedelic ("Salamander"). Where Robbins' previous groups were frequently lean and economical, OFP draws from a broad instrumental palate – sweetening knotty guitar riffs with cello and keyboard melodies.
The band name is a nod to Terry Gilliam's black comedy Brazil and Dick Cheney's Office of Special Plans, the government committee whose brief was to provide justification for the invasion of Iraq. The theory being: The blandest and most bureaucratic designations hide the most profound evil. In this sense, if only in nomenclature, OFP are kind of a bizarro metal band for the new century.