Plants and Animals: Waltzed In From the Rumbling (Secret City) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Plants and Animals

Waltzed In From the Rumbling

Secret City

Jun 15, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Plants and Animals return from a three-year hiatus with their fourth LP, Waltzed In From the Rumbling. Their absence has indeed been felt; records so steeped in lush organic sounds are increasingly rare these days, and the few that do make it to our eardrums are generally lacking in originality and quality. That's just one of many reasons why Waltzed In From the Rumbling is so refreshing. It is warm and beautiful, but still full of actually catchy songs that range in structure and complexity.

Hailing from Montreal, Plants and Animals flirt with psychedelic experimentation but keep a solid foot planted in some earthy soil, which seems like such a Canadian quality in the first place. This album, if it is truly a return to their roots as the press release claims, finds those roots deep in the northern woods, frosted with heavy beauty and reaching deep into the soul in search of warmth. Waltzed In From the Rumbling is easily one of the best sounding records in recent memory, immediately highlighted by the harmonies introduced throughout the opening track "We Were One." Instruments layer on top of each other, alternating between piano riffs and acoustic ambience and building into a lush orchestration. It is a record that rewards listening through a decent pair of headphones certainly, but that's not to say anything fancy is required to appreciate its beauty.

On first listen, "No Worries Gonna Find Us" is an obnoxiously repetitive earworm kind of song, but the truth is those kinds of gimmicks actually work and I've been humming it for a few days now. And it's actually pretty great, even with such an aggressively catchy backbone. In contrast, tracks like "Stay" and "So Many Nights" betray their initial impressions as merely somber ballads and evolve into triumphant folk anthems. Especially "So Many Nights," which features a surprising swell of instrumentation on the final chorus, not unlike Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer." Alternatively, the album's longest track, "Je voulais te dire," opens with a subdued guitar lick that echoes Johnny Mandel's "Suicide Is Painless," before being swept away by a blissful performance, and again grows into unexpected places throughout the song's runtime. These vintage references are surely no accident, as Waltzed In From the Rumbling is shaped by familiar sounds but manages to piece them together and totally unrecognizable ways.

Waltzed In From the Rumbling is a showcase of uniquely thoughtful musicianship, shaped as much by the performance and structure as it is by the quality and pristine definition. It's the kind of warm, mellow evening record you might not know you needed, but it sooths and surprises enough to earn repeated listenings. (www.plantsandanimals.ca)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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