Montreal rockers Plants and Animals return with a more stripped-down sound on their third full-length album The End of That. Unlike their previous records, this album leaves behind the realm of orchestral psychedelia for a more mellowed out sound with hints of early 1970’s rock ‘n’ roll. Lyrically, the record finds the band dwelling on times past, loves lost and the difficulties of adulthood. From his Lou Reed-esque cadence in “The End of That,” to the no holds barred wail of “Lightshow,” vocalist Warren Spicer demonstrates his ability to use his voice as an extra instrument, greatly adding to the overall effect. Even so, while still featuring some solid tunes, it gets lost somewhere around the halfway mark with the last four tracks melding into one big rock anthem.
Trial track: “The End of That”
– Cora Ballou
I feel it is my duty to warn you that Plumb may possibly be too wacky for public consumption.
The fourth studio effort from Sunderland natives Peter and David Brewis is a progressive pop-rock frenzy. With 15 tracks crammed into 35 minutes, there is an indelible sense that these songs were constructed by someone with a seriously short attention span. Best described as a collection of half-congealed ideas piled on top of each other, with hooks that rise but then are quickly discarded, this album is nothing more than an unmemorable mess.
It’s a shame, because the Brewis brothers seem to have a real knack for writing quirky, hooky little numbers. There were moments when I decided that Field Music may, in fact, be Queen’s long-lost hipster nephew. With a little Ritalin and some production assistance, there may still be hope for these boys to become more than just a silly novelty.
Trial track: “A New Town”
– Paul Traunero
Farewell Republic’s debut brings a new addition to the post-punk scene. Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., the group has put out their 11-track record, Burn the Boats, available on Bandcamp.
Sivan Jacobovitz and Brian Trahan make up the permanent members, while a rotating cast of live and session musicians aid in creating the musical landscape that is illustrated on the album.
The music has an almost film-soundtrack quality in its composition. However, the sheer chaos, which would make an excellent backdrop to an art-house film, becomes quickly draining, almost numbing the senses. The listener’s ears bleed at times from the sound generated from the noise of layered guitar feedback. Even the dissonance is reflected in the album cover’s imagery.
However, there is still hope for the band, that once they mature, their narrative voice and artistic vision will no longer be lost in the white noise. Hopefully then it will enjoyable.
Trial track: “Wake”
– A.J. Cordeiro
When I think of the best rock album, I think of The Joshua Tree, U2’s fifth album that has earned itself a spot among the best albums ever made in the history of music, up there with Abbey Road and The Wall. The Joshua Tree was released in 1987 and was immediately acclaimed as the album that transformed U2 from great to superstars. Just naming the classics on this CD makes me shiver: “With or Without You,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and there are so many more. The songs on this album are what make thousands of people wait days to see U2. The Joshua Tree encompasses so many real emotions and it has touched many around the world.
Trial track: “Where the Streets Have No Name”
– George Menexis