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Plants And Animals: La La Land

B

Plants And Animals

Album: La La Land
Label: Secret City

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Montreal roots-rock outfit Plants And Animals began as a folk-minded instrumental jam act, but by the time a proper debut album was recorded—2008’s excellent Parc Avenue—that original jam impulse had been married to rangy rock songs with soaring melodies and complicated rhythms. Plants And Animals’ sophomore LP La La Land hardens the band’s sound considerably, such that even though it contains songs with titles like “American Idol,” “Game Shows,” “Future From The ’80s,” and “Tom Cruz,” the sillier elements clash with music that skews heavier, even bordering on plodding at times. What used to sound free now often sounds forced. At its best, though, La La Land resembles a soundtrack for some lost early-’70s youthsploitation film—some project that Pink Floyd and Spirit both turned down. And even the tension between the album’s bummer moments and more joyous rock songs like “The Mama Papa” and “Jeans Jeans Jeans” becomes compelling on repeated spins. Plants And Animals’ music nods to the past, but it still speaks to our era, where even the best news is followed almost immediately by a “But…”