Plants And Animals - La La Land

There is not a single song on here that is duff or out of place.

Making a pop album isn’t hard. It’s about verses and reaching the last chorus after moving up a semitone. Making an album that is both at the same time pop but interesting and experimental is a much harder achievement. It’s something Plants And Animals have managed and managed well.

The main part of the appeal of ‘La La Land’ is the idea of change. Not just in the fact that the songs are all different, but in the fact that each song’s progression tells a story. For example, it’s not just the hypnotic repetition in ‘Game Shows’, it’s the way instruments are added and moved into the frame, it’s the way that everything is slowly put on top of itself and made to start to blend in, to tessellate, it’s the way it moves from a sombre song into hints of jazzy piano into a full on soft jazz jam in the end, complete with Hey Joe style guitar.

The other thing that strikes is the closeness that they nod to other bands. The clearest of this is ‘Kon Tiki’ which sounds like a cover of Grizzly Bear circa Vekatamest, whereas in fact it’s about the raft of some Norwegian explorer (I think). Listening to the song, while being interesting, can be uncomfortable as it takes just about everything from Grizzly Bear, rather than taking just bits and making them into their own area. It still lacks the breathless simplicity of structure, but unlike in ‘Fake It’ where they have a Grizzly Bear build up and drop, preceded by a more pulsing bass led section, it just takes the style and the sounds and doesn’t alter them. It’s not a bad song; it’s just a bit unoriginal.

And while it is unoriginal, there is not a single song on here that is duff or out of place even. Everything works if you let it click and let it ebb, it, quite simply, makes sense. It’s a smooth, slow burning album if you listen to it as a whole, and it’s well worth the listen and the time you put into it. It just carries an air of excitement in it, from the cacophonous crescendo of ‘Undone Melody’ to the unexpected aforementioned ending to ‘Game Shows’, to the fantastic, almost classical but entropic build up at the end of ‘Celebration’, the album will always take you by surprise. It will, simply put, take you on a journey.

Tags: Plants And Animals, Reviews, Album Reviews

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