(Photographer: Will Steadman)
I’m at The Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen tonight, which is impressively full for a rainy Tuesday night after a bank holiday, to see Plants and Animals. Beer in hand, and younger sibling by my side, I take up a spot near the front.
Plants and Animals are a Montreal-based trio who emerged on the international scene around 2008 and have developed somewhat of cult following ever since. I must say I wasn’t overly familiar with them until tonight, however my ears pricked up as soon as they played their first note.
Lead singer and guitarist, Warren Spicer, plays his acoustic guitar through distorted effects producing an almost lurid, hollow sound, leading to an ensemble of four thirty-somethings. The open, rich sound they achieve with their rather modest set-up is mightily impressive (one of the support bands had SEVEN people on stage and still managed to fall rather flat). Swelling, spacious arrangements build to colossal crescendos that are almost orchestral; it’s vigorous and intense, but with occasions of real sensitivity.
I must say it’s genre-bending stuff but they still manage to deliver a cohesive set. Their diehard fans (of whom there’s a few in attendance) seem happy. I think they’re one of the most original bands I’ve seen recently, but if you want a comparison they probably fit somewhere in the Arcade Fire / Wolf Parade realm.
This date is part of a short European tour to promote their new album, which also takes in Berlin, Copenhagen, Brussels and Paris. ‘Waltzed in from the Rumbling’ was released: 29/04/16 on Secret City Records.
Check out this live version of ‘Stay’, taken from their latest LP, recorded earlier this year at Mixart Studios, Canada.
Writer: Will Steadman: @steadman_will