Future from the 80s
Jeans Jeans Jeans
"The record is alive with a lush, symphonic sensuousness that recalls Of Montreal; it’s as layered and ornate as an origami crane, but as organic and effortless as the real feathered thing. While the songs are shorter and punchier than the seven-minute marathons of Parc Avenue ... they’re complicated and gorgeous and feel as innate as desire itself." - Paste
"Psychedelic, amplified and momentous, songs are multifaceted, with a sense of Radiohead importance, Arcade Fire intensity and très cool dirty-basement rock and roll ("American Idol" gets my vote as the missing link between Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street)." - The Globe and Mail
"utterly thrilling while stil retaining all the muted joy and gentle perfection of Parc Avenue ... an album for the ages and Plants and Animals' ultimate piece of work thus far" - Under the Radar
"rife with chiming bells, ebullient trumpet blasts, and whistled outros. It's a bewitching record — a mix of soft-rock luster, classic-rock grit, and indie-rock dexterity — a sort of AM Gold for the dark-hearted." - eMusic
""By the time the amps stop ringing, you feel you've travelled through a cohesive, front-to-back, old-fashioned album, one that you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn still got plenty of spins decades down the line." - Blurt
Plants and Animals latest offering, La La Land, is louder, and tougher, but also showcases them their smoothest and most cohesive to-date. Inspired by a rediscovery of electric guitars, amplification and fuzz pedals, it takes us up and away from Parc Avenue’s Montreal-in-the-summer vibe, and out into the rock n’ roll ether. The album was recorded at the band’s hometown go-to studio in Montreal, The Treatment Room, and at Studio La Frette outside Paris—a brokedown old mansion filled with vintage gear and a killer board in the cellar instead of wine.
Though plenty of wine went into the album. As Warren puts it, “the Paris stuff is like a nice Bordeaux and the Montreal stuff is more like a baked potato. Sessions in Paris ended by 10pm, sessions in Montreal by 6am.” Rum and cokes inspired the initial Treatment Room sessions in late 2008. The album’s first track, “Tom Cruz,” eventually came out of these late nights. As the Woodman tells it, “it was December, pre-Christmas, so we fuelled the session with rum and cokes. They made us feel like Tom Cruise. It gave us killer smiles and made our enemies wither.”
Ultimately it’s this sense of hilarious confidence that currently characterizes Plants and Animals, and also gives La La Land its cohesion. The Woodman’s drums sound bigger and groovier, Nic colours the album with extra guitars and keyboards like a mad painter, and Warren’s vocals have taken even more ambitious strides.
“We got fat making the record but got skinny mixing it,” Warren jokes. After handing over album-mixing duties to someone other than Warren for the first time, the band decided they weren’t happy with the results, and camped out at the Treatment Room for two weeks in the fall of 2009 to remix the record. Warren even setup a tent in the studio, working around the clock to wrap things up. Many late nights and even more bad working titles later, La La Land was done.
In many ways La La Land is just as eclectic as Parc Avenue, but there’s something more mature holding it all together now. As they might say in the movies, La La Land isn’t a place—it’s a state of mind. Plants and Animals have never been a band with much interest in posturing or unnecessary theatrics, but on La La Land the curtain isn’t just pulled back, it’s gone entirely.
Both these bands have the sound and the talent to make a live show spectacular, but there are sometimes elements out of their control that can take that away. And certainly, when it comes to Pop Montréal, Plants and Animals have the upper hand.
Perhaps better than any band in town, Plants and Animals have an amazing ability to embrace the infinite possibilities of a song, bringing each one to vivid life and taking us along for the ride.
Les trois canadiens ont débarqué les bras chargés de quelques guitares et d’une batterie qui allait trôner un peu plus tard, au milieu du salon, narguant des ingés sons un peu inquiets par ce qui s’annonçait : de l’amplification et forcément un volume sonore assez inhabituel pour une Soirée de Poche
""Drawing on everything from art-school pop to purple-skies alt-country to ’70s-toned classic rock, the album mostly confirms Montreal as Canada’s undisputed hotbed of top-drawer indie rock.."
"Warren Spicer sounds like he's following tracks out in the snow on 'Game Shows,' even though the song seems to be set indoors, in front of a television screen. We're transported though, to where the soft and powdery snow is a few inches deep and the longing pangs lead us. It takes us to a small fire for warmth, kicking dirty ashes of exhausted wood cords into a fluttery travel pattern that only takes them up so far and then drops them into our hair or hat and onto our Thermoses."
"La La Land takes its name from what the band has described as a "vortex of confusion," but the dizzying effect that the album's disparate stylistic strains might incur is an altogether charming one ... For a trio that remains consistently unpretentious and accessible, Plants and Animals seem to have sucked up a fair amount of art rock influences somewhere along the way; [but] If there's a connecting thread running through the album, it's the chunky, insistent guitar riffs that pop up repeatedly ... Whatever you call it, that predilection for juicy hooks is a major part of what keeps this mercurial bunch solidly grounded."
"There are wolves out, he thought, squinting into the savannah. He was mistaken. No canis lupus had stalked this land since the suburbs materialized, half a century before. This was a land of dogs."
“American Idol,” sounds like a missing piece of Exile on Main Street... explores a wide array of styles, constructing dreamy melodies and sticking indie jams, making for a throwback style that radiates modernity."
Blogotheque has posted a unique Take-Away show today that features Plants and Animals recording "The Mama Papa" in France. They shot this at the same time as the series that ran in June 2009 featuring songs from Parc Avenue. You get to see the band in the recording process. Ultimately the band would actually re-record The Mama Papa with a different arranegment, but the take you see here is include on the iTunes release of the album as an extra: "The Mama Papa (Paris Basement Mix)". It rocks.
"The record is alive with a lush, symphonic sensuousness that recalls Of Montreal; it’s as layered and ornate as an origami crane, but as organic and effortless as the real feathered thing. While the songs are shorter and punchier than the seven-minute marathons of Parc Avenue ... they’re complicated and gorgeous and feel as innate as desire itself." 85/100
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