Plumerai: res cogitans res cogitans
CD-R EP 2006 | Silber 055
4 tracks, 22 minutes
$8 ($10 international, $2 download (256 kbps, ~40 megs))
Track Listing: Avernal, Linear, Illuminata, En Vole
: Listen to the track Illuminata
: More info
Reviews:
Silber Records seems to be really good at releasing music that I generally don’t know quite exactly how to describe, but I always end up loving everything I receive from them. Thanks, I like that! Now if only more labels were like this…
The Boston, Massachusetts based band Plumerai is another one of those Silber bands that I’m enjoying a lot, but really don’t know if my following description of the band will do them justice. To me there sound is some sort of dark ethereal pop with nice rocking moments and lead by the stunning vocals of Elizabeth Ezell. Joining Elizabeth is Todd Richards on drums, and the Newman brothers Martin & James on guitars, keyboards, and bass. When I listen to this short EP I get the impression that there drawing some influence from Goth/Alternative/Pop/Rock artists like The Cure, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Portishead, but all in all Plumerai seems like a rather unique creation.
What also makes Plumerai special is that each of the four songs present sound different. ‘Avernal’ has the most dark pop sounding elements and the song often times brings Trip Hop artists like Portishead, Massive Attack and The Third & The Mortal to mind. ‘Linear’ is definitely the most 80’s Goth/Rock/Pop influenced song, sounding almost like a lost song from The Cure’s mid-80’s work, while ‘Illuminata’ is similar with a groovy bass line, backing keyboards, and a really catchy chorus, but returns a bit more to the darker sounding approach. ‘En Vole’ is also rather different adding in an accordion to their unique dark pop rock sound.
All things considered Plumerai delivers a real gem with their ‘Res Cogitans’ EP and I look very much forward to their next album, which will either be out later this year or early 2007. Keep your eyes open for this one.
~ Joe Mlodik, Lunar Hypnosis

Plumerai’s latest release may only be a small four-track EP but to the band itself it marks big changes. Two years after their first release, Plumerai are much more defined and sturdy, having solidified their line up to four members and, perhaps most importantly, gained more artistic control over their production. All of which has given Plumerai an altogether more dynamic sound which is clearly evidential on Res Cognitans.
“Avernal” opens the EP and is a delightfully dreamy creation, the drums gentile and inoffensive (until the last two minutes that is) mixed with soothing guitars, all complimenting the arousing, sultry voice of Elizabeth Ezell.
While Plumerai have developed their own sound their influences are clearly defined, whether it’s the music compositions that share similarity in sound to new wave acts like The Smiths, to Ezell’s voice that is already being compared to PJ Harvey’s. “Linear” is a fine example of their influences hitting the mark perfectly, the catchy guitar work that is both pop and anti-pop simultaneously due to its melancholy feeling yet danceable beats. Mixed with the soft vocals of Ezell, “Linear” is a track that The Cure would certainly be proud of.
There is definitely a cabaret quality to Ezell’s vocals and throughout it suits the mood of the music perfectly as with “En Vole” a piece where even the accordion gets a little more prominence than before. It’s unsurprising however that the cabaret element is there as Res Cognitans was recorded live, copying to CD the true untouched elements of the band which makes for a much more interesting and powerful release than just another studio outing.
With retro electro rock (et al) being the big fad that it is at the moment, Plumerai will certainly have to put the hours in to ensure they don’t fall victim of its ephemeral and superficial charms. Yet if the four tracks on Res Cognitan are anything to go by, they are miles ahead of the majority in both sound and concept already
~ Michael Byrne, Left Hip

For those who haven't heard of Plumerai before, you're in for a wonderful sampling of 80's alternative-influenced musical titillation.  Elizabeth Ezell's shaking vocals are the first & immediate attraction.  Seductive, tortured, & wanting, it's a voice you can almost touch as well as hear.  The music is very thick with the double-timed echo guitar familiar in most early 1980's alternative rock.  The music is reminescent of what you would expect from a Radiohead/Cranes collaboration.  Instantly appealing, this EP starts out amazing & gets better with each subsequent listen.  A must-have for our listeners.
~ Poseidon, Gothic Beauty

According to their press release, the name Plumerai "comes from a French lullaby about depluming a bird". Interesting name for an interesting band, that despite the lack of feathers, they demonstrate they can still take flight. Although Res Cogitans is only 4 tracks long, each song is longer than the average with, "Avernal" lasting about 7 minutes. After two years of instability, the four-member band has solidified their sound and declared this 2007 EP to be their true debut album.
Fronted by a female vocalist, Elizabeth Ezell delivers her raw feminine tones, resembling at times like a sexed up Bjork, ending her lines in subtle quirky vibrato. The keyboards, guitar, bass and drums converge in good chemistry, emitting their influential roots-80's punk and alternative-to create dark, mysterious, enchanting modern rock. Their raw energy is captured in their production process by focusing on greater live recording with minor overdubs. And this steer away for that studio perfect sound is rather quite perfect for them.
My ears welcome the long musical breaks with my favourite found in the last few minutes of "Avernal" where instrumental noise entwine to blood pumping climax, sounding appropriate for a Pulp Fiction soundtrack.
~ cAthy Lee, The Spill Magazine

Plumerai is a Boston-based post-pop band that specializes in "shoe-gazing guitars, tight drumming... everything you could want from pop-oriented music," according to their press release. A scant four songs comprise Res Cogitans, the band's latest release. The album begins with "Avernal," which sounds as if it were 80s dream pop laden with French house vocals and drums. "Linear" and "Illuminata" are more upbeat rock songs that seem to update the shoegaze to which this band obviously looks for guidance. "En Vole," the clincher, is a poppy, yet dark number. Both violin and piano work to give it an almost cinematic feel. Res Cogitans is an enjoyable mix of energetic guitars, lethargic vocals, and relaxing instrumental passages - a mix which makes the band seem like a group searching (successfully) for their artistic and acoustic niche.
~ RC, Melisma Magazine

Combining the sounds of many popular groups like Evanescence and The Cure, yet adding a harder tone with vibrating female vocals, Plumerai emerges with driven and appealing music that gets better with every listen.
Plumerai’s four-track EP shows incredible force and diversity. Interchanging between the influences of trip hop, rock, and some post punk, the quartet’s music is difficult to categorize. They’ve been characterized as a pop band, but such a match is difficult to make because Plumerai deserves credit for their unmistakable sophistication and substance.
“Avernal,” the EP’s first track, kicks off with the concentrated guitar and drum contributions of Martin Newman, Todd Richards, and James Newman. Effectively portraying their ability to play within the conventional music styles, Plumerai inserts a subtle and driven back-melody behind the main melody. The enrapturing vocals of lead singer Elizabeth Ezell are unmistakable. Pinning listeners to her ethereal vocal styles in the track, Ezell conveys both warmth and a haunting sentiment, two beautiful emotions that reside with listeners throughout the Res Cognitans EP.
Starting with quick reverberations of notes on the guitar, “Linear” grabs listeners from the first measure. As soon as the echoing guitar effect settles in, an uptempo snare enters the track during the guitar’s offbeat. The EP’s most cheerful track, “Linear” absorbs the listener as Ezell’s slower paced lyrics match up against the quick background music of the composition. The lyrical pace in the song’s chorus quickens to match the swinging pace of the musical background, and Plumerai reveal their catchy pop tendencies with the infectious “Linear.”
Plumerai covers a vast expanse of the music world in Res Cognitans. This stirring 21-minute EP has proven that the Boston-based quartet is more than ready to proceed to the next step in the music business. January of 2007 marks the release of Plumerai’s forthcoming debut full-length album, and with it are great expectations from the band and listeners alike.
~ Lauren Proctor, Performer Mag

Taken from the theories of 17th century Swiss philosopher Rene Descartes, Res Cogitans translates roughly as "occurrence thorough consideration," an offshoot of the much more famous Descartes deduction: "I think, therefore I am." Zap forward four centuries to Boston, and occurrence finds its direction from Plumerai’s consideration. The four-piece’s latest EP is almost as thought-provoking as Swiss philosophy (but rest assured, much more thrilling) and defies labeling. That said, let’s give it shot: Res Cogitans is complicatedly ethereal, moving forward with a delicate grace that could only be supplied by Elizabeth Ezell’s equally flowing voice. While Plumerai only gives us a 4-song taste of what is to come, each song flows forward for about 5 minutes, moving from small beats to explosive climaxes, patiently transitioning the listener from emotion to emotion. "En Vole" ("Be Willing to Behold") drips with maturity and elegance, and with added spices of foreign influences, it’s hard to believe that such a sound came out of Boston. Anything but, "Linear" combines a bouncy beat with almost shoegaze touches, moving into "Illuminate," a mysterious orchestral ride that just goes to show anything can be expected from Plumerai. If they continue to put this much consideration and thought into their music, their new album should make quite a splash indeed.
~ Michael Schmitt, Music Emissions

Following on the heels of their self-titled full-length and encompassing a number of lineup changes, res cogitans, the new 4-song EP from Boston's Plumerai, showcases more of the shoegazing ethereal rock that's made a name for them on both the local and national scenes. Sounding something like the genetic culmination of Hope Sandoval, Polly Jean Harvey, and Melora Creager, frontwoman Elizabeth Ezell's lush, sensual warble leads the way through four tracks of moody, catchy, diverse post-punk-influenced alt rock.
The opening "Avernal" is easily the disc's best, its moody rock delivery and catchy chorus hook certainly delivering, while the following "Linear" is nearly on-par, a poppier and almost equally infectious affair that almost recalls The Sugarcubes. Unfortunately, "Illuminata", sounding uncannily like the band's attempt to rewrite the James Bond theme, is fair but less satisfying. The sultry rock of the closing "En Vole", however, recovers relatively well with its Latin undertones and Italian accordion accents.
With a new album apparently slated for 2007, expect to hear a lot more from Plumerai in the next year. Until then, the res cogitans EP is a mixed but, overall, satisfying slice of shoegazer-infused alt rock/pop.
~ Joshua Heinrich, Grave Concerns

Plumerai is a bit of a different kind of band for Silber, in that it's a pop band. Okay, it's a pop band that's more influenced by Portishead, The Sundays, Lush, and other bands from that early-90s Britpop era. Not that they're Britpop, but they've definitely got that sexy, moody sound thing down. Res Cogitans is a four-song EP, but those four songs are so substantial and meaty, you're left both wanting more and feeling quite satisfied. I really, really dig the sexy singing style of Elizabeth Ezell. All four songs are interesting, and all of them are new favorites, but I really dig the seven-minute "Avernal" and the shimmery, should-be-a-hit "Illuminata." Great music, and hopefully the promises delivered here will be followed through next year with their forthcoming LP.
~ Joseph Kyle, Mundane Sounds

Plumerai’s latest release may only be a small four-track EP but to the band itself it marks big changes. Two years after their first release, Plumerai are much more defined and sturdy, having solidified their line up to four members and, perhaps most importantly, gained more artistic control over their production. All of which has given Plumerai an altogether more dynamic sound which is clearly evidential on Res Cognitans.
“Avernal” opens the EP and is a delightfully dreamy creation, the drums gentile and inoffensive (until the last two minutes that is) mixed with soothing guitars, all complimenting the arousing, sultry voice of Elizabeth Ezell.
While Plumerai have developed their own sound their influences are clearly defined, whether it’s the music compositions that share similarity in sound to new wave acts like The Smiths, to Ezell’s voice that is already being compared to PJ Harvey’s. “Linear” is a fine example of their influences hitting the mark perfectly, the catchy guitar work that is both pop and anti-pop simultaneously due to its melancholy feeling yet danceable beats. Mixed with the soft vocals of Ezell, “Linear” is a track that The Cure would certainly be proud of.
There is definitely a cabaret quality to Ezell’s vocals and throughout it suits the mood of the music perfectly as with “En Vole” a piece where even the accordion gets a little more prominence than before. It’s unsurprising however that the cabaret element is there as Res Cognitans was recorded live, copying to CD the true untouched elements of the band which makes for a much more interesting and powerful release than just another studio outing.
With retro electro rock (et al) being the big fad that it is at the moment, Plumerai will certainly have to put the hours in to ensure they don’t fall victim of its ephemeral and superficial charms. Yet if the four tracks on Res Cognitan are anything to go by, they are miles ahead of the majority in both sound and concept already.
(Plumerai release a full length album in 2007)
~ Michael Riley, Left Hip

Boston four-piece plays like a quintet with guitarist Martin Newman doubling up on keys as well. Elizabeth Ezell delivers excellent un-easy vox. She’s got that nano-sheep ba-a-a-a-a stutter that gets squeezed into tight spaces and syllables.  It kind of denotes anger and sorrow at the same time…the music behind her definitely drops back a couple of decades and a handful of hairdos. Hello phlanger, hello Joe Jackson, hello tie with the black-and-white keys on it. Nah, that’s too harsh…but the drums ARE tidy and timely, no mad dash eruptions. The guitar IS jingle-plinky and yes soaked in phlange. The synth sweeps ARE on vox presettica. Pseudo xylophone lights up “Illuminata.” A kind of ska gallop with arpeggio spurs winds up “Avernal.” UnEz E’s vocals are really the highlight, looming large with these tiny torments of lovelorn pop. Will the follow-up full-length to this song EP be called “res extensa” and feature an expanded use of more instrumentation and flavors? Or maybe dump the thinking altogether for a more passionate play towards raw emotional scorch and feedback.
~ Thurston Hunger, KFJC

I recently came to the realization that my musical tastes have remained virtually unchanged since high school. While I'm sure that many of my former classmates have dumped innumerable tapes and CDs at the local CD Warehouse, I still reach for those worn copies of Wish, Disintegration, and Violator with some regularity. And not just due to a sense of nostalgia, though there is some of that, nor because I'm ridden with angst (though there is some of that, too).
The simple truth is that I keep listening to those albums because I still find myself inspired and excited by them. They consistently prove to be much more rewarding and interesting than any number of new CDs that I pick up these days, even those that I might praise here on the site. And while some folks, for whom high school is a distant memory, might look on these albums with a tinge of embarassment, I'm not ashamed of these albums. I don't consider them "guilty pleasures" in the slightest, nor do I ever get that "what was I thinking?" sense whenever I pull one off the shelf and slide it into the player.
At the risk of projecting my own musical development (or lack thereof) onto others, I suspect that the folks in Plumerai are much the same way. After all, one can hear the effects of many hours curled up with Disintegration and Pornography all over the 4 songs on the Res Cogitans EP. However, the band is not completely slavish in their devotion to such hallowed sounds, nor are they caught up in unnecessary nostalgia.
While the basslines, wiry, chiming guitars, and synthesizer lines do conjure up all that is good and golden from early 80s British post-punk (case in point, "Linear"), the song structures are a bit more expansive, owing a debt to shoegaze pop. However, vocalist Elizabeth Ezell is no fey chanteuse; her voice contains a snarling sensuality not unlike that of P.J. Harvey or Insides' Kirsty Yates.
Res Cogitans is a little uneven and rough around the edges. There are times where a greater sense of economy would be nice; opening track "Avernal" stalls in the final two minutes with an accordion-driven finale that feels a bit out of place. And while it's nice in this day and age of overproducing and studio fakery to see a band forgo any sense of studio polish and record everything live, especially a band as atmospherically-minded as Plumerai, a little polish and overdubbing is not an absolute evil. There are times where the bass-prominent sound gets muddy, where Ezell's voice isn't as clear and piercing as it should be, where transitions within songs stumble a bit.
But at their core Plumerai have things figured pretty well out, especially when Ezell's shivering voice sidles up against "En Vole"'s sparse guitars and Parisian accordions, or the band weaves some chilled vibes and a John Barry-esque melody into "Illuminata". An album is forthcoming sometime in 2007, and one hopes that the EP's flaws are simply due to the band working out some kinks in their sound. If honed properly, Plumerai could have something really solid and eclectic -- seriously, who incorporates accordion into post-punk? -- on their hands come next year.
~ Jason Morehead, Opus

Four songs. 21 minutes. Both represent confined space for a band that would be adequately described as contemplative. Trying to make an impression in that brief period would be a difficult undertaking for most artists; challenging but, as we learn from Plumerai, not impossible.
Their EP Res Cognitans is an obvious showcase for something more. The songs are all stirring numbers, from the trampling, 7-minute rock number "Avernal" featuring an eastern European tinge to the Cure-cum-Sundays "Linear," a track that would have been famous on MTV's 120 Minutes. The song - which would make an ideal single, features Elizabeth Ezell's pining, straining vocals. Some would say that Beth Orton or Chan Marshall are both clearly in her class but her vocal draw comes without peer among pop contemporaries. Her lightning shudders are sexy deeply affecting the winking guitars, swinging beat, and by the end loses herself in the crashing mix. Although they are long for pop songs, nothing on Res Cognitans sprawls so much as it curls softly into a pensive ball. Plumerai handles the confinement of their recording very well, bringing esoteric rock elements like an accordion into the mix, and utilizing a live recording with minimal overdubs. Song craft becomes the star, backbones provided by Martin Newman's deeply reverb fed guitars and a rhythm section with the undercurrent of libidinous undulation. The result is a warm, enthralling sound.
The name Plumerai comes from a French lullaby about depluming a bird. An arcane reference to draw for a band title, sure, but it is a more than fitting one. This Boston area quartet twines dreamy and uncommon strings, and ultimately their EP is a short, yet rewarding listen. That assessment is true from top to bottom of Res Cogitans, a taste -- a sample, a trifling of rock extraordinary, before it's done.
~ Erick Mertz, Kevchino

The first thing you’ll notice when listening to this official debut EP is the sultry voice of singer Elizabeth Ezell, who sounds like a mixture of Beth Gibbons of Portishead, Bjorkk and Heather Nova. The instrumentation furthermore consists of drums, guitar, bass & keyboard and the sound is influenced by indierock, 80’s goth and punkrock. The guitars are reverbed like in gothic and shoegaze music and the bass is playful and reminds more of The Cure or PJ Harvey. The first song first has a rock-triphop sound but at the end evolves in fastened up punkrock western style. ‘Linear’ has a steelguitar and sounds somewhat more uplifting, lyrically however it is just as gloomy. This song reminds of Heather Nova even more, however unfortunately it is not as good. ‘Illuminata’ has a better build-up of tension and works better as a song. The connection between the atmospheric sounds and the spiced up bassplay is very accomplished. ‘En Vole’ is again more faceless as a song. The songs on Res Cogitans are quite allright but not very good. Most of them do not keep interesting yet the feeling remains they could have made more out of this, as the attempts are very nice.
~ Gothtronic

Tout droit sorti de Boston, le quatuor Plumerai, dont le nom viendrait du français, propose une musique rock fortement influencée par la scène alternative anglaise des 90's avec en tête de liste des groupes comme The Cure et surtout miss PJ Harvey ("Avernal"), tant dans l'interprétation vocale qu'au niveau des compositions, le côté dépressif en moins et c'est bien dommage. "Res Cogitans" est un EP 4 titres annonçant néanmoins un bon deuxième album pour 2007.
~ From Dusk til Dawn

The Next Big Thing? Oh yeah!
Il disco che non ti aspetti.
Mi sono avvicinato a ‘Res Cogitans’ con assoluta indifferenza e la causa credo sia imputabile a quel formato (Cdr) così anomalo in casa Silber Records e/o a quell’artwork così essenziale, povero ed anonimo. Sta di fatto che non avrei scommesso neanche un centesimo sul suo valore intrinseco ed - invece - sin dal primo ascolto è stato capace di rapirmi, stupirmi nonché diventare la mia (nuova) droga.
Troppo poco un EP di quattro pezzi per manifestare (spero) contagiosi entusiasmi? Forse. Ma i Plumerai creano assuefazione, in quanto due brani sono semplicemente divini (‘Linear’ ed ‘Illuminata’) ed i rimanenti (due) mancano di poco la perfezione evidenziando solo piccole incompiutezze: in ‘Avernal’ la lunghezza del brano (7 minuti) è eccessiva mentre in ‘En Vole’ la sezione ritmica risulta un po’ “caciarona” e dispersiva.
La band dei fratelli Newman possiede un’arma diabolica: la voce sensuale e passionale di Elizabeth Ezell che appare lontana e distaccata, ma che riesce ad avvolgerti ed accarezzarti quanto il calore di un caminetto in pieno inverno. Forse Elizabeth si limita ad ammiccare ed io ci casco, ma oramai sono perso di lei e della sua voce. Nel frattempo mi rendo anche conto che come sottofondo la band di Boston costruisce melodie nostalgiche che mischiano triphop, punkrock, indierock, pop e dark come se Cure, Portishead, PJ Harvey, Bjork dessero vita ad un’unica identità… ed io sono diventato un loro fan.
~ Alessandro Lucentini. Kronic.it