Album review: Plants And Animals - Waltzed In From The Rumbling
- Credit: Archant
A shape-shifting, intimate and multi-faceted record to quietly beguile.
The Canadian indie outfit, led by singer/guitarist Warren Spicer, brought in a string of guest musicians for this fourth album, which marks a new sonic direction for them.
Recorded straight to tape in an all-analogue process, what’s immediately noticeable is the sheer musicianship and care taken over the arrangements, which meld accessible, soulful pop sensibilities with more complex, leftfield song construction.
The intro of Stay, for example, matches the charm and intimate twang of finger-picked guitar with call-and-response vocals before blossoming into a psych-lite, percussion-heavy wig-out - all packed into three minutes.
Indeed, their songwriting marks them out. At one end So Many Nights bathes in sweet, soft-focus piano, guitar, bass, clarinet and shrill flute, while at the other All Of The Time muscles in on Radiohead’s post-OK Computer aesthetic, steering their ship through maudlin waters with a narrative of nerve-wracking anxiety.
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And they still have time for optimistic, arena-sized melodies too, in the galloping No Worries Gonna Find Us.
Although not alone in this field of intelligent alt/indie, the Montreal band’s analogue approach captures the kineticism of raw talent, a band comfortable enough in their own collective skin to concentrate on capturing that energy, their instruments breathing and the odd chair creak.
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In short, it is impeccably produced and well-balanced, a babbling brook of sound pouring into your ears - from the forthright piano opening We Were One to the crystal-clear soundstage of All Of The Time, and particularly on the wondrous, bug-eyed cosmic adventure Je Voulais Te Dire (or I Wanted To Tell You), a seven-minute multi-part epic doffing its cap to Radiohead, The Flaming Lips and west-coast psychedelia.
An intricate, intimate document from a band that knows how to harness its ideas and talent.