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CD Album 2012 | Silber 121
10 tracks, 44 minutes
$12 ($18 international, $5 download (320 kbps MP3))
: Press Release
: Digital Booklet
This indie rock dream pop quartet kicks out of Boston, led by the Parisian jazz smoked vocals of Eliza Brown. Their music, while holding on to sharp guitar tones that shimmer and slide, would not be out of place on stage in some red velvet lounge: It swings like a shoegazing beatnik, and drifts like a snowflake on a dark wave. The light bluesy twists pull against the ethereal tones, creating songs that feel almost brand new. I hear touches of bands such as Halou and from even further back, The Rose Chronicles, but I can also pick out touches of Slowdive and Galaxie 500—if you can picture Dean Wareham as a French chanteuse
~ The Big Takeover
The first album for Plumerai with its new singer and new direction, Mondegreen reveals a mixture of Plumerai’s former post-punk shoegaze style now taking full advantage of new vocalist, Eliza Brown’s classic Ella Fitzgerald like voice. This blending of classic vocals and gothic influence is at times stunning, but unfortunately, these moments of striking synergy are frequently diluted and marginalized by the album’s overtly pop leanings.
Mondegreen starts off brilliantly with the haunting and melancholy “13,” which shows how great a combo gothic rock, cabaret, and Brown’s vocals can be. Unfortunately, “Trip” immediately deflates the promise of its predecessor as the moody work gives way to much more poppy and upbeat work. “Troubled Soul” and “Come & Go” are a bit more soulful, but take on more of a lounge act sort of sound that, though solid, feels shallow and inconsequential. “Six Ton Gorilla” returns to the peppier, catchy, and jovial work, but this is one of the rare cases of the album where the vocals and music sound badly mixed and just don’t mesh well, leaving it feeling more like a karaoke track. “Mimosa,” “Mortality,” and “Loss” remind the listener just how haunting and lovely Plumerai can be as they recapture the moody edge washed away by the pop leanings of songs like “Marco Polo.”
Plumerai is clearly talented but seems unsure of what tone to take with its new singer and that may come as a bit of a shock to those familiar with the band’s previous work. The upbeat songs just lack the edge or attitude to really grab an audience and takes away much of the impact of the weightier work. The pop tracks leave Plumerai sounding like a lounge act; the work is very pleasant and entertaining, but feels like unimportant fluff. Mondegreen shows that the change in singers did have a fairly large impact on Plumerai’s sound, and the uneasy tonal shifts of the album from soulful melancholy to tulip traipsing joy leave it feeling far too bipolar and lacking in gravity.
~ ReGen Magazine
The press release to Plumerai’s new album ‘Mondegreen’ comes with the self-effacing promise of “If you remember when shoegaze was a derogatory term for a branch of alternative pop music, this record’s for you”. In truth, the music is only slightly shoegaze-y and would more likely appeal to fans of female-fronted indie groups such as My Foolish Heart.
Eliza Brown is certainly a dominant present on the record and far more distinctive than other shoegaze vocalists. Her vocals possess a jazzy quality as she murmurs and meanders through opening track ’13′. The band are in excellent form for ‘Trip’ where they provide an nagging, infectious backdrop from which Brown swoops in and out and likewise for the brightness and colour of ‘Marco Polo’, the title track to last year’s EP and possibly their most effects-driven track.
Yet as much as Brown can make good songs into great ones, her moody approach could be viewed as disinterest as she seems to go through the motions on some of the less immediate tracks like ‘Come & Go’. On a more positive note, the album is distinguished by a couple of real curveballs as ‘Six Ton Gorilla’ successfully contrasts the band’s relaxed style with an inventive jazz-funk song structure whilst ‘Loss’ makes them sound like an obscure 4AD alt-country act.
If it needed a sub-genre, ‘Mondegreen’ might be loosely defined as “indie jazz” thanks to its unusual mix of styles. For the most part, it’s a winning formula too, even its languid exterior could do with a few more regular injections of excitement.
~ Leonard's Lair
Boston’s Plumerai takes influences from any number of musical genres. Barely scratching the surface, you can hear shoegaze, rock, jazz, and dreampop twining their way together to create Plumerai’s unique sound. With an atmosphere created by wistful female vocals over a dark, heavy foundation, the music is most distinctive in its various contrasts. It is dissonant, but remains accessible to listeners of all different tastes with its steady basslines and pop-influenced melodies.
Mondegreen is the first full-length album to feature their current lineup. Plumerai consists of new members Parisian vocalist Eliza Brown and drummer Mickey Vershbow, along with multi-instrumentalists Martin Newman and James Newman. Brown’s voice is reminiscent of Jane Siberry, a soprano capable of being both ethereal and earthly. Her sweet sound over the distortion and effects of the instruments is disorienting. You can never be entirely sure where the music is going to go next. With its combination of timbres, Plumerai takes what is harsh and ugly and forms it into something beautiful.
Mondegreen is available on Bandcamp. A digital version costs seven dollars, but for twelve dollars you can get the physical CD, complete with designs and photos featuring members of the band. Plumerai also has a few shows coming up in the next couple months. March 16 they will be at Radio on Somerville, while April has them playing ZuZu’s in Cambridge on the 8th and Firehouse 13 in Providence on the 12th.
Marco Polo: A slow, contemplative baseline introduction leads into a melody straight out of eighties new wave. The chorus especially will keep you humming it all day.
And speaking of the eighties, check out these covers of The Cure’s “A Forest” and “Cold,” available for free on Plumerai’s Bandcamp page.
~ Ten Miles