Thursday, March 29, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: Plants And Animals - The End Of That

by Mark Gillis

If your parents were to look at the cover of The End Of That by Plants And Animals, they’d probably be reminded of one thing: The Last Waltz by the classic Canadian rock band The Band. Just have a look for yourself, the covers of both albums are stunningly similar. Everything from the colour, to the font, to the tail coming off the last letter. The similarities between the two album covers should set off alarm bells on your head. Perhaps the biggest thing to note is that the similarities don’t stop at the cover art. It isn’t a coincidence that Plants And Animals are trying to look a bit like The Band here, because they are obviously trying to sound a bit like the Band as well.

Right from the start of this album, you really a get the sense of folk-tinged classic rock. The first three tracks from The End Of That scream classic rock to me. There are some pretty good and catchy moments on these tracks, too. “Songs For Love” has a great build up to a rock explosion that I just wish exploded a bit more. Warren Spicer even references Wayne Gretzky’s empowered speech at the 2002 Olympic hockey tournament with the line “like the great one said / it’s a crock o’ crap”. Even though that classic rock vibe wanes a bit throughout the rest of the album, there are still tiny hints of it on most tracks.

The album really breaks open on the fourth track, “Lightshow”. This track has a very monotonous guitar being strummed throughout the song, but I think that there is enough going on with the drums and electric guitar to keep the attention of my ears. “2010” is an awesome rock song that just sounds really big. It ends with a two and a half minute jam that couples itself with a very anthemic sounding sing-a-long. I’m sure that it will be a favourite during live shows.

I think this album really hits a high point with the song “Why & Why”. This track is just an all out, relentless rocker. The album then winds down a bit from that point. It even features a piano on the track “No Idea”, which is the only track that a piano is featured on. The lack of piano and other "orchestral" elements on this album make it sound a lot closer to the band’s sophomore album La La Land than their debut Parc Avenue, although this album does have its own unique taste to it.

I kind of wish that Plants And Animals would go back to their earlier sound at times. Their past two albums haven't been bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t feel that The End Of That or La La Land offer up a listening experience as interesting as Parc Avenue did.

Ultimately, what you’re getting with The End Of That is a collection of nice rock songs with a hint of classic rock dropped into them. These songs aren't revolutionary or anything, but if you ever just feel like kicking back, having a beer and putting on some solid rock tunes, this album should more than hit the spot.

Light 7

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