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Without Number
CD 2007 | Silber 059
9 tracks, 45 minutes
$12 ($18 international, $5 download (256 kbps, ~83 megs))
Track Listing: Home Again, Illuminata, Blues & Greens, Avernal, Lavinia, Iris, Sin El Lagarto, En Vole, Kill My Way Outta Here
: More info
With three releases under their belt, Boston four-piece Plumerai follow up their 2006 EP “Res Cogitans” with their second album entitled “Without Number”. Having secured a consistent line-up of Elizabeth Ezell (vocals), Martin Newman (guitars), James Newman (bass) and Todd Richards (drums) during 2006 the band toured up and down the US East Coast and worked on new material. Choosing bass player Newman to record the album allowed the band to experiment more in the studio and use instruments such as accordion, guzheng and keyboards. “Without Number” is based around a series of character studies and stories brought to life by Ezell’s unique vocal talents; “Lavinia” for example is based on a Shakespeare play while “Iris” pays tribute to a lost friend. Musically, the band are not easy to categorise as they draw from a number of influences as diverse as alternative, shoegazer, art-rock and beyond. Ezell’s vocal delivery is distinct and evokes a unique mixture of such names as The Cranes, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith or even Portishead. The only thing that can be slightly distracting is that the music itself can sometimes become slightly too overpowering at times. Aside from that fairly minor point, “Without Number” is a worthy indie-pop album characterised by Ezell’s seductive vocals.
~ Paul Lloyd, Sideline

Without Number is Plumerai's first full length, after various compilation appearances, a MP3 release on Get Nice Records and their first hrad release; the Res Cogitans EP from 2006. Plumerai seems to be the usual band; guitar, bass, drums and vocals. However, there are a few touches that certainly make this band stand out from the crowd. First and foremost; Elizabeth Ezell's vocals. They have been described as sultry; characterized by arousing passion. Her vocals are certainly warm and passionate, with a hint of rawness to give it jus that personal touch. Other points that make this band stand out is the incorporation of various other instruments (accordion, guzheng, and more) and the mix up and influences of all kinds of genres. I depicted this as being 'alternative rock'. While this genrefication (sic) is correct, it's also an oversimplifiaction. Plumerai's music ranges from ethereal rock to postrock to indierock with postpunk elements. It's easy accessible, but also with great depth and alternation for such easy going music.
When I tuned this up for the very first time, I nearly headdesked during the very first seconds. My initial thought, and fear, was that this was some indie crap. Luckily I was disproven really quick. Plumerai's music is by no means your basic run of the mill, premade and underproduced indie stuff. Instead they take it to a whole new level, leaving the mediocre slew of bands far behind. Also when it comes to the lyrics, it's not your basic boyfriend/girlfriend/lost love and similar kind of songs, which always sound the same and lack inspiration. Instead, a track like Lavinia is inspired by a play from one of the greatest writers of all time; Shakespeare. Or the song Iris, which is about a lost friend, but instead of being whiney about the loss, it's a tribute to the friend.
But it's not all nice and cute songwriting on this album. Oh no, on a few occasions it's downright heavy and instrumental rock, such as the highly entertaining Sin El Lagarto. Occasionally with the accordeon, which reminded me a bit of the unknown Dutch Forest Of The Tiny People. Martin Newman's guitarplay fit perfectly alongside Elisabeth's vocals, and on the other side are the deep and dark sounds of the bass played by James Newman. Lastly there's Todd Richards on drums, who doesn't want to show off his skills as much as possible, but just contributes in the best way to the music, providing the rythms over which the songs on constructed and find their way into your ears.
In conclusion I must say that this was a nice experience and introduction to the band. Everyone who is interested in the alternative side of rock, such as, to throw in some names from the promotional paper; Portishead, The Cure, Radiohead, should definitely check this quartet out. Go to the Plumerai myspace, and have a listen. You won't be disappointed.
~ Chawech, Heathen Harvest

Mainstream indie rock has had its time to shine in the past couple of years, but much of the genre is starting to hinder on becoming old news with very similar sounds. However, outside of the more mainstream radio world there are still plenty of indie bands finding ways to keep their style fresh enough to appeal to a wide variety of listeners. Plumerai is one of those groups, combining a rock sound with drone and trip hop influences, almost like an American bred Portishead. With catchy, electronic hooks and a large and encompassing sound Plumerai’s debut Without Number is sure to please.
One might be wondering how the drone style can be brought into a traditional rock band, but this group has managed to make it work. Plumerai takes an indie rock style base with melodic and slower guitar works and turns them into a slow groove via the implementation of electronics and repetition of various sounds. Though some drone can seem repetitious to listeners, the combination of repeating melody coupled with the seductive vocals (which I’ll mention in detail shortly) work to create a very listenable combination. The instrumentals also have a distinctive electronic vibe to them, at times almost feeling like a more rock oriented Portishead.
Vocalist Elizabeth Ezell has an extremely powerful and seductive voice that helps to carry Without Number along for the listener. Ezell’s style is very melodic, and always complements the band’s instrumental style without completely overpowering it. However, this is not to say that her vocals feel as though they are in the background. Rather, it sounds as though Ezell is singing with an encompassing wave of sound surrounding her, which is absolutely perfect.
Without Number is an excellent album that takes the spirit of rock and adds the encompassing energy of a drone release, resulting in a release that will hook listeners and keep them absorbed in its sound waves for quite some time. It may be a little different and certainly a little more up-tempo than some of the other releases on Silber Records, but Plumerai’s music is still a perfect fit for the label. This is one band that is different enough to appeal to drone fans while still up-tempo enough to appeal to more mainstream listeners, and that in itself is a dazzling combination.
~ Chris Dahlberg, Cosmos Gaming

Plumerai is a band from Boston, consisting of Elizabeth Ezell (vocals), Martin Newman (guitars), James Newman (bass) and Todd Richards (drums). Silber describes this as a cross-over between PJ Harvey, Portishead, The Cure, The Cranes, Radiohead and Gogol Bordello; is that outside the wide territory usually covered here or not? Ezell's voice is indeed like Portishead, Harvey but also Bjork like. As far as the music goes, and overseeing my limited knowledge of all the references mentioned, I must say I thought it was all quite enjoyable. Plumerai play emotional rock music, even when I don't understand what all the lyrics are about, but I'm sure it's all emotional stuff (sensing from the way they are sung), the music is tight, and, hurray, there is also a sense of experimentalism, allowing other instruments to be part of it, like keyboards and accordion. It would all make more sense to me if I was hearing this twenty-five years ago, but even in this day and age I quite like it.
~ Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

With their early EP release in 2006, Boston-based Plumerai had driven up quite the excitement due to a unique blend of PJ Harvey Style vocals from the husky voiced Elizabeth Ezell and The Cure style shoegaze/ dark wave accompanying music from band Martin and James Newman and Todd Richards. A creation that promised more than the length of the EP could handle.
At long last Without Number is upon us, Plumerai’s latest release and thankfully still full of the charm, if not more so, of its predecessor, no doubt in part due to James Newman’s hand in recording the album and thus allowing the band’s idiosyncratic use of instruments such as the Guzheng and accordion not to be wavered for a more mainstream sound. Right from the offset with ‘Home Again’, Plumerai’s force as an alt-rock/ art-rock (hell call it what you will!) act is almost palpable, mainly due the band’s ability to strike a complete equilibrium between Ezell’s to die for voice and the band’s ability to muster up a brilliant and layered tune or two.
Following is ‘Illuminata’ a track that first marks Plumerai’s desire for using off kilter instruments within their compositions, case in point; the xylophone, which brings uniqueness to the track matched only by the constant synthesizer sound warbling in the background.
But it is with ‘Blues and Greens’ that the addition of instruments like the accordion provides the most overt feeling, giving Ezell’s vocals an almost jazzy, Parisian feeling with which to sway her vocals to the listener smoothly and effectively.
‘Avernal’, while still of the laid back and chilled out pace of the other tracks, provides more of a sense of exigency, the band working in unison so that you can almost feel the oncoming chorus via the tension in the drums and guitar work which slips easily into a haze of shoegazer like sound with even the accordion giving as good its gets by the end, keeping up with the speed and rhythm of the drums.
‘Sin El Lagarta’ while still using the now well documented plethora of unlikely instruments does so in the album’s most unusual way. A speedy, care free and anarchistic instrumental piece that merges sounds that could be roughly defined as folktronica and dark wave. A strange mix indeed but one that on first listen will have you wondering if it’s the same band and then eventually enjoying the refreshing break it creates in the album’s line up.
As mentioned previously with their EP release ‘Res Cogitans’, as long as Plumerai waned away from the temptation for a more mainstream sound (and thus a bigger fan base) then they would find great things with the album later in the year. And great things they have found indeed. A blend of styles and sound that is reminiscent of other acts but totally unique to the band in question also. A signature album that should hallmark a surge in popularity for the group as well as many new releases to come.
~ Michael Byrne, Left Hip

This Boston quartet has settled down to the permanent lineup of the Newman brothers, Martin and James on guitar and bass, respectively, Todd Richards on drums and ethereal chanteuse, Elizabeth Ezell on vocals, and their second release for Silber, following the “Res Cogitans” EP from 2006, is a charming, chiming collection of guitar-based post-rock, with fine nu-gaze trappings. Martin’s guitars soar anthemicly like 80’s faves, The Chameleons, taking on an almost violin-like sheen on “Illuminata,” while Ezell’s quivering, little girl vocals add a soft, yet inquisitive Bjork-like resonance to the offerings.
“Blues & Greens” is more playful, almost childlike in its immediacy, like a swaying lullabye with whispered, stream-of-conscious vocals from Ezell and the giddy aura is topped with a delirious oom-pah band conclusion, complete with accordion and carnival-like keyboards. The band get a little esoteric on tracks like “Avernal” and “Lavinia” and matters are further complicated by Ezell’s occasionally indecipherable lyrics, but Richards’ snappy drumming and the Newman’s intricately woven guitar lines keep things from deteriorating into boring, self-indulgence, although at over 8 minutes, the latter track could use a little belt tightening. But overall, this is another exciting project from the Silber stables to keep an eye on.
~ Jeff Penczak, Foxy Digitalis

It’s been just a year and a few months since I heard Plumerai’s exciting EP ‘Res Cogitans,’ and have since eagerly awaited the bands next release. ‘Without Number’ is the second full length from Plumerai and it contains five new songs, three of the four songs from the Res Cogitans EP, and a cover of Remora’s ‘Kill My Way Outta Here.’
Musically it’s the same sort of ethereal pop/rock with influences ranging from the indie, Goth, alternative, and post punk genres, though as I’ve said before I find Plumerai hard to pinpoint. One thing is for sure, and that is that the new songs contain the same sort of catchiness and stunning vocal work that was found on last years EP. Initally I thought the three songs from Res Cogitans were exactly the same songs, but as it turns out 'Illuminata' has a shortened intro, 'Avernal' is completely re-recorded and uses some new instruments, while 'En Vole' is remixed in some parts only. The cover of Remora I like because it has the same sort of minimal sound as the original although it sounds considerably different hearing a female sing the words and the fact that the music consists of just bells and an accordion.
Although a decent recording it would have been more pleasing to hear eight new songs and a cover rather than five new songs, three old songs and a cover song. Even so Plumerai’s second album is good and should be investigated by those that enjoyed their earlier work or any of the musical genres I mentioned above.
~ Joseph Mlodik, Lunar Hypnosis

A Boston four-piece led in the highs and lows, Plumerai owes its measured intensity to bassist James Newman, who gives the band's art-rock dioramas a thick, popping backbone influenced by dub and British dance. The surface comes equally equipped, shaped as it is by Elizabeth Ezell, whose tense air could make a whisper sound like a threat of seduction.
~ Grayson Currin, The Independent

Plumerai 'Without Number' kicks off with a sunshine summer dub vibe. It's an intriguing listen this one. It's kind of straight up indie pop with a hint of shoegaze from the use of effects. The female vocal is very sexy. Even though there are many elements which are tried and tested it somehow feels fresh. CD only on Silber.
~ Norman Records

Judging by the two tracks the band have available for streaming on My Space the band have not diverted away from their ethereal, sometimes Gothic tinted sound, that was apparent on their previous release Res Cogitans. If you like The Sundays, The Cranes, Cocteau Twins and the vocals of Beth Gibbons or Alison Shaw then Plumerai could be just for you. Interesting and worth checking out.

After the magnificent 2006 EP, Res Cogitans, Plumerai could go seemingly no higher with their spectrally intimate, drone drenched rock sound. It was already ideal. An American version of Portishead — yes, those progenitors of trip-hop on these soils — helmed by the plaintively enigmatic vocalist, Elizabeth Ezell, the Boston area band felt like something familiar, like flannel.
Only a lavish flannel. And one with a terribly garish floral pattern, instead of stolid, masculine stripes.
This is 2007, a new year, and Without Number is the subsequent new LP. Transferring many of the tracks from the Res Cogitans sessions, the new effort feels like a natural extension of the same. Haunted at its core; wickedly smart; a seamless quilt of warm bodied tales, there are a scarce few missteps (except the Latin tinged “Sin El Lagarto” — weird choice) and many more reasons to believe this is one of the better bands of their pedigree. Plumerai plays slow building (”Avernal”) Gothic infused (”Lavina”) and familiarly anthemic songs (”Home Again”) throughout their nine track showcase.
An act to attach devoted attention to, Plumerai comes from a place where it is always the loveliest dim autumn afternoon.
~ Erick Mertz, Semiurban Cartography

When the late ‘70s indie-flavoured, avant-garde art-rock New Wave blast began to kick in, there were a world of experimental talent that may have garnered just a few adherents overall, but it didn’t stop them from being universally recognized by the cultish respect of those fans, who were clearly devoted.  Since, avant-garde-ism has never really faded away; it just remained underneath the radar.
The music of Boston’s Plumerai is highly avant-garde with its willingness to merge unusual instrumentation with unconventional vocals.  Plumerai extend their musical reach by mixing accordion with a shimmering Cocteau Twins-like guitar, or by blending a Chinese table-like, multi-stringed instrument called the guzheng (seen in films like Hero), with standard rock instruments.  Add the intriguing voice of Elizabeth Ezell to the depths of their lyrics and you have a notable band worth paying attention to.
Without Number contains 9 tracks, all adroitly fascinating but never intended for the ears of the masses.  The opening song, “Home Again,” starts off accessibly enough, making it a well-placed song, a snare of sorts.  Once you’re hooked by the song, with its time-bomb ticking guitars, you are then escorted through a collection of songs that, at times remind vocally of Bjork and musically like few others.
The music of Plumerai bears noting as their style will attract the attention of music fans interested in music not-by-numbers.  I have a devout interest in such music because it keeps it all fresh but not subscribing to the known formulas of bands seeking to stay within a box for the sake of discovery.
The real question is…how much experimentation can you handle?  If you can do Radiohead, you could enjoy Plumerai.
~ Matt Rowe, Music Tap

Plumerai's Elizabeth Ezell has a persuasive set of vocal chords. If anything, she could pass for a harsher Kristin Hersh or perhaps a more decisive Tanya Donelly. Musically, the quartet is an abrasive post-rock, neo-gloom version of some of the college bands on the circuit in the US during the late 80's. While the choppy guitars go hand in hand with the rhythmically pounding percussion, it's the band's use of the accordion and keyboards that they get an A + for. I want to rave about the release - I really do - but the subject matter wears me down each and every time. Recommended for those under the influence of the just arrived colder weather.
~ Tom Sekowski, Gaz-eta

Plumerai are a quartet from Boston that play a brand of alt-rock/pop music that transcends those genre labels with well crafted art-rock influences. Reading the promo sheet and reviews on the band's web site I see references to The Cure, Radiohead, Portishead and Cocteau Twins, and while I'm not familiar enough with those bands to comment on the analogies, they probably do give a reference point. I also see references to shoegazer, a style I am familiar with. There are definitely shoegazer elements to Plumerai's music. The tag helps explain the spacier elements in the songs, though I'd say that overall the music is much richer and more detailed than most shoegazer bands I've heard.
Among the highlight tracks is "Illuminata", which rocks out but also includes an orchestral backing. I really like the combination of standard rhythms and choppy pulsating guitar that pervades throughout the song. I love the spacey, surreal carnival motif on "Blues & Greens". Especially later in the song when the band go even deeper into space, accompanied by a bouncy accordion jingle that soon devolves into a demented meltdown at the end. Excellent song! "Avernal" is another standout, taking a basic accessible song and propelling it into the cosmos. And with its 7 minute length the band is able to stretch out and really develop the music. Plumerai really rock out, but even when the guitars are bashing and the drums flailing, there are other bits and pieces that accentuate the color and character of the music. More accordion, shifting chordal patterns and more. A nice combination of song and structured jamming. "Lavinia" is the other lengthier track of the set and again takes a basic song and does a great job of making it into a virtual construction job. Elizabeth Ezell's vocals don't dominate the music like most pop singers do. Instead, she functions in tandem with the music, particularly the simple yet entrancing and ever shifting guitar melodies. And once again Plumerai soar into deep space and get ultra freaky, while always retaining the core song. "Iris" would be a great candidate for radio play. "Sin El Lagarto" is a little different, being a high energy, frantic paced sort of avant-gypsy song. Very cool. And with "En Vole" I'm now really diggin' the way Plumerai incorporate the accordion into their music. It gives the song a traditional feel, yet all this alternately dreamy and intense spaced out rock is going on around it. Yeah, this is my idea of pop music.
~ Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations

Le sonorità indie del quartetto di Boston sono l’eccezione che conferma la ferrea regola ambient/dark che vige in casa Silber, la label che li ha lanciati nel 2006 con l’EP “Res Cogitans”. L’apertura di “Home Again” promette bene, mentre in “Avernal”, “Lavinia” e “Iris” riemerge l’unico limite dei Plumerai, che è un’eccessiva deferenza stilistica verso modelli ormai abusati come PJ Harvey ed Alison Shaw dei Cranes. Quando prevale il coraggio di spingersi oltre i confini del genere, i risultati sono più che apprezzabili, e la fisarmonica suonata a rotta di collo in “Sin El Lagarto” mi fa pensare che l’ultima parola sul gypsy punk non la diranno i Gogol Bordello. Un plauso al brano di chiusura, un’intensa ripresa di “Kill My Way Outta Here” dei compagni d’etichetta Remora.
~ Raffaele Zappalà, Rockerilla

Che sorpresa un album pop su Silber! I Plumerai vengono da Boston e propongono un alt-rock venato di vellutate screziature darkwave e shoegaze. La voce di Elizabeth Ezell - qualcosa tra Cat Power e PJ Harvey - mantiene l'atmosfera delle canzoni ben ancorata a terra, anche quando le chitarre prendono il volo senza sentire il peso della forza di gravità, come nella celestiale “Blues & Greens”. A metà scaletta i quattro di Boston piazzano gli oltre otto minuti di “Lavinia”, un condensato di dream-rock che chiama in causa i Cure e i Cranes. Atmosfere decisamente cupe e romantiche anche su “Iris”, una delle più belle canzoni dell'album. Altrove i Plumerai danno prova di sapersi muovere anche tra i ritmi desertici delle musiche di confine alle Calexico (“Sin El Lagarto”), sebbene i risultati non siano sempre degni di nota.
~ Roberto Mandolini, Losing Today

Za?neme nejrockov?jší položkou ze ?tve?ice novinek – kvartetem Plumerai. Po samopalem vydané prvotin? a n?kolika net EP vydanými na Silber records p?ichází po ?ty?ech letech fungování kone?n? ?as na druhou dlouhohrající desku Without Number. Kytaristy a bratry Martina a Jamese Newtonovi na obligátní rockový kvartet dopl?ují zp?va?ka Elizabeth Ezell a bubeník Todd Richards. Plumerai jsou ?tverka v jemn?jší ?ásti rockového rozsahu indie scény, jež m?žeme v ur?itých momentech zasadit mezi Mazzy Star (to p?edevším kv?li melancholicky rozívenému vokálu zp?va?ky) a The Sundays (jejich sko?ný, v?tšinou krystalicky pr?zra?ný poprock mi formace p?ipomíná nejvíc). Ob?as zvážní do polohy raných The Cure, ale p?edevším ve druhé polovin? p?ekvapí úhybnými manévry všemi sm?ry. Akordeon a kvapíkové tempo p?inese do hry latinský, ne?kuli cikánský temperament (p?edevším v Blues & Greens a Sin Le Lagarto), hlukové zp?tnovazebné pasáže zase prodlouží Lavinia do osmiminutové délky. Without Number se na první poslech jeví jako neškodné roztomilé ká?átko na indie rockové scén?. Po n?kolika posleších a ostrých seknutích p?es slechy musíme prvotní pocit korigovat sm?rem s v?tší pozornosti.
~ Pavel Zelinka,

Musica che arriva da lontano, musica immaginifica e che ti rovina addosso come un fiume in piena. Musica calda e languida come un abbraccio della persona amata. Suoni che Plumerai articolano con una forte cognizione di causa. "Without Number" gira perfetto sul lettore cd, nessuna sbavatura e godimento massimo assicurato. Pop-rock che si fonde in musiche e parole brillanti, il gruppo di Boston patteggia -leggiadro- piccoli pentagrammi del cuore. Devastando incontrollate anime e pensieri. Bravi.
~ Claudio Baroni, Musica Popolare