Plants and Animals – The End of That {album review}

by Woody on March 1, 2012

Is it me or does it seem like more and more bands are going back to recording live? Maybe its just all the promotional videos that the bands release showing them sitting around a cabin or studio knocking out jams as they flesh out a song. Well add, P&A’s new release to the collection.

Upon reading the presser that came with The End of That, there was a ton of lip service paid to the recording style. Lead Plant, Warren Spicer had this to say, “On this record, our gear that we play is the gear we play live. It has a more cohesive feeling to it.”

On every prior Plants and Animals LP since I was bowled over my their with/avec LP; I have been underwhelmed on the first couple of spins. And then over time, I gradually warmed to the release, Parc Avenue considerably more than La La Land. On The End of That, I went through the same program but I came around much quicker than the other two. Maybe all the talk of the live recording process seeped into my sub-conscious but this album really does a nice job of capturing their live performance. It also is quite a bit more laid back than La La Land.

The lead single Lightshow at its core a song that a singer/songwriter would sing. Spicer just strumming along on his acoustic. But Plants and Animals are never one to go the simple route, have Nic Basque flesh it out with some outstanding electric guitar.

And while think this is their most laid back album, it doesn’t mean that P&A aren’t pushing the boundaries. Crisis! was a tune that annoyed me at first but it slowly became one of my favorites. Woodman bangs out a funky beat while Basque plays some chords that feel like he just made them up on the spot. Spicer’s sing/speak vocals really work on this tune.

P&A are going to be touring this spring and making the requisite stop down in Austin for SxSW to promote the new album. They were the first set I ever caught at Homeslice Pizza. Here’s hoping for a return engagement.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

tincanman2010 March 1, 2012 at 8:24 am

No, it’s not just you. It is becoming a bit of a trend for ‘live’ in studio recording. I think its a counter-trend to celebrity producers over-producing – or I sure hope it is anyway.

I recently listened to an interview with Richard Swift about the new Damien Jurado album. He explained that Damien came in with finished songs, sat down and sand and played them on his guitar and in a lot of cases the first take is what went on the record. Damien left and Richard added the drums and choirs and the rest…sort of an each part of the partnership – and that is what it is with those two, even though this doesn’t sound like it – doing what they do best. And it is one of the best produced albums I’ve heard in awhile.

Maybe it’s because technology lets songwriters doodle around and make their own demos whenever and wherever they want, but for whatever reason I very much like the trend. Pop is an of-the-moment medium. It’s disposable. Go in, explore your ideas, press record, and move on to the next album. Don’t try and turn everything into Sgt Peppers.

tincanman2010 March 1, 2012 at 8:29 am

I had clipped that Richard Swift interview to do a post on my blog, but here it is if anyone wants to listen:

Hopefully this develops into a good discussion point

Paul March 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

There’s definitely something nice to the live sound, though. You get a different kind of sound than with a lot of production going on.

I think it might just be that the up and coming bands grew up in the 90’s when a live sound was what was happening, so that’s what we think sounds really cool.

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