Rock Plaza Central – At The Moment of Our Most Needing [Album Review]

by Woody on June 26, 2009

“Don’t you believe the words of handsome men.”‚  Conjures up thoughts of politicians, news anchormen and American Idol hosts, however in this particular case it comes courtesy of the third song on Rock Central Plaza’s new album, At The Moment of Our Most Needing (Paper Bag Records).‚  This is the band’s fourth release and follows up 2006’s critically acclaimed Are We Not Horses“a concept album about, of all things, mechanical horses with real horse feelings.

No surprise, given the subject matter behind their previous release, this Toronto band tends to get the “literary” label thrown its way.‚  A label like that frankly can be a little off-putting, but also leads to the other common reference¦the music of Neutral Milk Hotel.‚  And yes, at times, this band does sound like NMH partly because of the Mangum tinged vocals of Chris Eaton and the plentiful horn sections throughout these songs.‚  At other times, the music borders slightly on the baroque, reminding me of Beirut but in a good way.‚  Eaton’s voice takes a little while to get used to and occasionally takes on the characteristics of a wailing dog, but it adds an undeniable element of strained emotion to these songs.

Some of the notable tracks include the previously referenced third song, “(Don’t You Believe the Words of) Handsome Men” and “Holy Rider,” which has some fantastic string and trumpet/trombone sections while “Them That Are Good” kicks off with something similar to a New Orleans style funeral march and lyrically poses a riddle, “when we fall from the light, will it make our darkness bright?”‚  One other thing – the sequencing of the tracks appear to be carefully chosen by the band, and meant for an end-to-end listening experience. There are two instrumental tracks that act as interludes or intermezzos.‚  One occurs following “Holy Rider,” a song that darkly concludes with Eaton yelping “I have lost my way.”‚  An instrumental follows and eventually slips into one of the more optimistic songs on the record, “We Are Full of Light.”‚  The instrumental is well placed to transition the emotion of those two very different songs.

There is a time investment required to gain full appreciation of what is some very inspired indie-folk.‚  Those that are patient enough to understand Rock Plaza Central will be rewarded with something beyond unique.

MySpace | Paperbag Records

Rock Plaza Central – (Don’t You Believe The Words Of) Handsome Men

Bonus cover tune:

Rock Plaza Central – Panama (Van Halen Cover)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Woody June 26, 2009 at 8:33 am

Good review and I agree that this is a band that takes a bit to appreciate it. Easton’s lyrics aren’t smooth by any stretch but if they were, I think the music would lose some charachter. All in all, I like this one better than its predecessor.

Vanessa June 26, 2009 at 8:36 am

You mean Eaton right? When i read Easton i was trying to figure out where Tim Easton came in..

Woody June 26, 2009 at 9:43 am

Love Tim Easton but that was a typo indeed.

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