Back in 2008 LA based trio Plants and Animals released one of the most widely acclaimed, if a little overlooked, debut albums of the year.
The hard to place folk ramblings of ‘Parc Avenue’ are widely left behind with ‘La La Land’ and Plants and Animals seem to be experimenting with their ever expanding sound.
With clear tongue in cheek nods to their hometown chic with the opening chug of ‘Tom Cruz’ and the crunching rhythmic riffage of ‘American Idol’ their sound opens into a new expansive realm that includes sing-along’s and sax, proving that they aren’t all about keeping things on the same track.
There’s a more distinct edge to their writing here and they sound more like a three piece then they ever did on their debut. When they do slow the speed with ‘Undone Melody’ they sulk with pianos, stabs and reverb while singer Warren C. Spicer mumbles through the darkness: “Not today, I need some time to work this out, you ask me in and then you kick me out, there’s no space in here for us, your righteous ways, your righteous ways.”
‘La La Land’ continues to brood and mutter under its breath after the somewhat chilled affair of ‘Kon Tiki’ and while Plants and Animals are making progressions, they take a little while to unlock. One could be mistaken for believing the sultry vocals from ‘Game Show’ have a well known monotony ringing through them but once the union between lead and backing is complete the smoke lifts and the song is transformed far beyond what was initially expected.
While ‘The Mama Papa’ embraces a modern indie spike synonymous in sound with the glut of London scenesters over recent years, ‘La La Land’ has tendencies to slip into unchartered misery with ‘Celebration’ providing little other than background noise and frustration that it hasn’t been transformed into something eye burningly epic.
The lack of consistency can be partially forgiven for the sheer array of ideas on display throughout their second long player is an indication that the evolution of this band could result in something fairly spectacular.
Something we would all want to see.