Review: Plantman – Whispering Trees
Published on January 21st, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
“Think Teenage Fanclub and The Go-Betweens and you’re somewhere close” informs the press release promisingly, but to Rocksucker’s ears this first album proper from Southend trio Plantman is more reminiscent of American artists such as Stephen Malkmus and Apples in Stereo.
The languid, nostalgic, sun-kissed jangle-pop of opener “Away With the Sun” certainly brings to mind the erstwhile Pavement front man in such mood, with just the merest hint of early Grandaddy for good measure, while the Christmassily chiming intro of “The Bitter Song” is thankfully reined in by the gentle eccentricity implied by Matt Randall’s somnambulant vocal delivery, not to mention its pleasing way with melody. It welcomes aboard a restrained orchestral arrangement and winds up becoming a twinkly sort of “I’m Waiting For the Man”, thusly consolidating a strong start to the LP and therefore our acquaintance with Plantman.
From thereon in, however, Whispering Trees makes itself too comfortable in its own simple chord progressions and reverbed light melancholy. It’s pleasant stuff but the interest wanes as song after song passes similarly by, while single “Lunaria” has a touch of Coldplay’s “Yellow” about it to counter the stateside reference points offered above.
Closing track “Melodica Forest” brings about a welcome change of scenery by dint of its titular instrument, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that much of what’s passed before it could have used such applications of colours and textures, if just for the sake of differentiation. Still, there are enough promising signs on Whispering Trees to keep Plantman on the ol’ radar.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
Whispering Trees is out now on Arlen. For more information, please visit uk.myspace.com/plantman35