Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Record label: Secret City Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Following 2012's The End of That, Plants and Animals decided to take a much-needed hiatus, as the three-piece focused on spending time with their respective families. With the release of their fourth full-length, Waltzed in From the Rumbling, the Montreal band seemed to have profited benefitted plenty from the four-year break, coming off much more relaxed, inspired, self-assured and, most importantly, collaborative. On their past two releases, Plants and Animals seemed to be either tripping over one another with forced musical enthusiasm or relying far too much on shapeless jams and grooves, but on Waltzed in From the Rumbling, tracks like the sweeping, beautiful "No Worries Gonna Find Us," the Kid-A-esque "All of the Time" and tropical-leaning "Off the Water" sound like the work of a tight, focused ensemble.
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.
Initial acclaim is a double-edged sword. A band with a debut as highly praised as Plants and Animals’ 2008 record, Parc Avenue, accepts this as a fact of life. Making a name for oneself in the wildlife-themed index of indie rock comes with the burden of increased expectations, ones that the Montreal trio’s successive two releases (2010’s La La Land and 2012’s The End of That) aimed to exceed, with varying degrees of success.
Plants and Animals singer/guitarist Warren Spicer has recorded and mixed his band's fourth full-length to near perfection. This cannot be overstated. Each instrument on Waltzed in from the Rumbling is so exactly in tune and at the optimum volume and placement in the speakers that it feels like each note is tangible. From the chop of the stereo-panned acoustic guitars to the gentle golf claps on last month's single, "No Worries Gonna Find Us," to the train-brakes flute on "So Many Nights," to the string and horn arrangements that bring so much texture to this album, everything is in its right place.
Just as there is Godwin’s Law which asserts that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison to Hitler approaches 1,” there is also the lesser-known Godrich’s Law, which states that “as a discussion of music grows longer, the probability of a comparison to Radiohead approaches 1. ” A subtle difference, but an important one. Perhaps it’s because Radiohead has such an extensive and diverse discography, or maybe it’s because they are such an entry point into indie rock for people outside the “scene” — whatever the reason, comparing a band to Radiohead is generally lazy shorthand for saying, “Oh, they’re a little weird and cerebral.
Since debuting in the mid-2000s, Montreal-based indie outfit Plants and Animals have built a reputation for sturdy pop-minded songcraft and high-quality, often intricate musicianship. Creatively, their ambitions have often extended beyond their personnel's relatively Spartan number (three), and that can certainly be said for Waltzed in from the Rumbling, the group's fourth outing. Recorded over a two-year period during which members Nicolas Basque, Warren C.
In the four years since Plants and Animals' last LP, the Montreal indie rock trio took a break - kind of. They started families and stopped playing shows. Their manager left the biz to work for the federal government, and they wrapped up their record contract. Yet every few months, the members would meet up at their studio and play whatever they felt like without the looming pressure of album cycles or release dates.