Plants and Animals THE JUNGLE

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Plants and Animals THE JUNGLE


Plants and Animals THE JUNGLE. Secret City Records

“We started working on this a couple of years ago. Warren was afraid for a friend’s health. He thought he was self-medicating too much and not taking care of himself. He couldn’t let go of this image of an overworked dude swallowing too many sleeping pills and falling asleep with the stove on. So it began as the place next door, sometime before Greta Thunberg turned the expression into a rallying cry, where Earth is the house and the people are sleeping. It’s terrifying, and on the whole we’re not unlike this friend, are we?”

Plants and Animals are a Canadian indie-rock band from Montreal (featuring two members originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia) which comprises guitarist-vocalists Warren Spicer and Nic Basque and drummer-vocalist Matthew Woody Woodley. The trio began playing together as kids and emerged on the international scene in 2008. They are signed to Secret City Records. Plants and Animals’ self-titled EP was released in 2003 via Ships at Night Records. In the fall of 2007, Plants and Animals released the four-song WITH/AVEC EP.

Their full-length debut PARC AVENUE was released on February 26, 2008 in Canada and on March 25, 2008 in the United States. The album was recorded entirely on analogue tape and features string parts by Sarah Neufeld of Arcade Fire. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and was nominated for a 2009 Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year; the band were also nominated for New Group of the Year. The band released their second LP, titled LA LA LAND, on April 20, 2010. The album was recorded in both The Treatment Room in the band’s hometown of Montreal and La Frette Studios outside of Paris, France. Their third album, THE END OF THAT, was released on February 28, 2012. The trio spent nearly a year preparing a catalogue of songs before entering the studio.

WALTZED IN FROM THE RUMBLING, their fourth full-length, was released on April 29, 2016. In November they followed up with PASSED OUT FROM THE WALTZING, an EP of B-sides from the album. In 2018 they released an expanded 10th anniversary edition of PARC AVENUE, featuring several bonus tracks. Their fifth album, THE JUNGLE, is slated for release in October 2020. THE JUNGLE is eight acts in a world full of noise. The album is auto-produced and was recorded at Mixart, their studio in Montreal.


‘The Jungle’ opens the album with a series of atmospheric percussive sounds which are rather like those you would imagine find in a jungle. The scene is set for a slice of indie rock characterised by simple, repeated lyrics and multi-layered voices. It’s a haunting, distinctive and interesting opening gambit. ‘Love That Boy’ sits on more solid ground with clearer vocals and slower, darker vibe and a tangible melody. This is the first time I’ve heard this band but┬álike its original and distinctive sound signature.

‘House On Fire’ goes firmly upbeat with a resounding bass rhythm augmented by scattered synth sounds and distant (somewhat muffled) vocals. The melody is strong, and the dance vibe that could translate into radio airplay. ‘Sacrifice’ rushes along like a train with talking pace vocals overlaying the songs rapid instrumental pace. Then a few minutes in and it’s like a cloud has been lifted when the track becomes clear before the foggy rush restarts. I would love to see this performed live! Hidden beneath is a strong melody and together with its catchy choruses is another song that could bombard the airwaves.

‘Get My Mind’ explodes with battered snares and develops into a song with varied pace - fast, medium and slow! - orchestral sounds, brass band sounds and adventure by the truckload. I’m reminded of the later Beatles at their most innovative…’La Queens’ launches with whispered vocals, a glacial pace, romantic vibe complete with French language moments. ‘In Your Eyes’ suddenly reveals, for the first time, a clearly audible vocal in another adventurous song that distinguishes this band from the crowd. Finally, ‘Bold’, initially a more conventional sound played at slow stuttered pace until one reaches the chorus with its distinctive and exciting sound.

I like this album. Here’s a band with a different and adventurous signature sound but which is still highly accessible. My only criticism is that production tends to mask the vocals with few exceptions resulting in lyrics that are difficult to hear. That said, I would recommend this album to those indie rock fans looking for a little different yet provides optimum entertainment.



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