Following the gentle, acoustic-led folk that the Montreal-based trio Plants & Animals preceded La La Land with, hopes of something similarly divine from their debut UK album have been dashed by this release. La La Land is ridden with fuzzy, crunchy, psychedelic guitar nose which chugs along with determination and conviction but in turn smothers contrasting timid, held back vocals, unfortunately proving that finding distortion and the strength to crank up the volume hasn't worked out for the best for Plants & Animals. This offering bears resemblance to the likes of Wolf Parade, The National and Arcade fire, but in a more rough around the edges way with its true roots more oldfashioned than contemporary and back in the '70's.
The opening tracks are guitar heavy yet disappointingly dismissible until variety edges in with 'American Idol' by means of a grungy growled saxophone part and the brass backings of a pop song; in terms of songwriting and harmony, however, it's very bland with minimal chords and doesn't really do much. 'Undone Melody' on the other hand is a down-tempo floating country blues song that in the most part meanders along in a stop-start manner then, around three minutes in, a piano arpeggio leads into a more forceful, pushed section building into a wall of noise and vocals towards it's close. 'Undone Melody' differs from the previous tracks as it gradually gains momentum, especially with the inclusion of strings, but the vocals neither have the power nor conviction to sing clear over the top.
Continue reading: Plants And Animals, La La Land Album Review
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