Being one of the first to hear an album that you know is going to be huge is always exciting. While some might try and hide their new musical discovery, savouring the music before the masses descend on it, others will share it with everyone they know. Either way, the musical force that you’re hearing that’s on the brink of discovery makes for a thrilling time.
Montreal’s Plumes who have recently released an eponymous debut album, invokes that kind of buzz. Made up of Geof Holbrook and Veronica Charnley, this musical duo have created an ambitious, textured, and at times epic, ten song, eleven with it’s bonus track, record. With its assortment of strings, various brass arrangements, guitars, and so much more, Plumes is a glorious crossover of classical music grace and indie-pop catchiness.
“Your Train of Thought Through Tunnels” begins Plumes off in an instant. Charnley’s sweet vocal tone completes the satisfying string filled multi-lingual track. With a melody that gives off a very Regina Spektor feel, “Your Train of Thought Through Tunnels’” poppy love song feel is just one of the many sounds the band is able to successfully convey.
“Away From Home” and “Figure It Out” both are upbeat and moveable tunes that make for obvious favourites but it’s the use of unconventional instruments, particularly the bass clarinet, which make both songs feel so original and exhilarating.
Contrasting these danceable numbers, Plumes are also creating delicate and incredibly lush songs, most notably highlighted by the “Sweet Georgia Blue.” Ending with Charnley claiming that, “A little Tiffany blue will do,” “Sweet Georgia Blue’s” use of the harp is a wonderful addition, one that is again used to the same degree of effectivity in the album closer, “The Holdup.”
Like Exclaim Magazine’s review of Plumes mentioned, “Hero and Leander” treads on Sufjan Stevens’ Age of Adz epic territory. An almost eight minute song, “Hero and Leander” lyrically draws from mythology – telling a story, while the instrumentation, like in a Disney movie or wherever you might have been exposed to storytelling meets classical music, expertly matches for such a beautiful composition and you’re left wondering where Plumes have been hiding this whole time.
Though the album technically ends at “The Holdup,” the indie pop-licious digital bonus track, “Stand Divided” is also worth noting. Leaving their classical music instruments behind them, “Stand Divided” has a similar feel to the earlier song, “Romance at Sala Rossa,” but raises the catchiness appeal for yet another fufilling song from the band.
As you allow the completeness and vitality of Plumes’ record to wash over you, you too will realize you could be listening to the next big band to come out of Montreal.
Plumes is available on Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Your Train of Thought Through Tunnels,” “Sweet Georgia Blue,” “Stand Divided”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *swoop*
Watch Plumes perform a stripped-down version of “Away From Home” for Southern Souls: