Wednesday, 25 September 2013

#167: Plainview - Years From Now (EP review)

Lancaster's Plainview are a band brought together, not by a shared appreciation of a certain genre but by a mutual ethos that merges aspects and elements from a plethora of musical stylings and a variety of previous experiences. This fusion of genres has allowed the band to create a sound that's not only fresh and varied but also wistfully nostalgic. There's a certain romantic energy about the ideas the band have, after all, why should a band be pigeon-holed in to playing just one kind of music when there's so much more at their disposal? And whilst most of the tracks from most recent EP Years From Now were available online prior to it's release, it's not until the songs are paired next to each other in EP form than the diversity at play really begins to reveal itself.

It's clear from even an initial listen that Years From Now aims to take listeners on a journey from genre to genre. First track, 'Golden Sound', is an indie-pop anthem which sees suitably jangly guitars paired with crashing symbols to make for an infectious and ultimately accessible introduction to the world of Plainview whilst other tracks on the record, such as 'Drift Away' eschews the youthful optimism of other tracks in favour of a darker, more matured and stripped down aesthetic. A clearly discernible bass guitar rolls the track forward, and lends some weight to the otherwise floaty vocals and guitar work of singer Darren Leadsom. It's a fine example of the musicianship within the band and one which iterates the lack of generic convention across the record brilliantly.

The records climax comes in the form of 'Warmth of the Sun', a five minute grungey shoegaze affair that features dreamy vocals from Leadsom and a particularly effective wall of noise forming the backdrop on which the lyricism can paint. Melodic vocal harmonies compliment what guitar can occasionally be picked out of the caustic tumult it creates. It's blissed out shoegaze at it's most commercial and yet a further example of just how little regard the band have for musical confines.

When bands try to give every track from a record a different vibe or aesthetic, it often comes across as fragmented and forced, tracks never truly roll in to each other one feels they should. That isn't the case with Plainview. What the band have done is create a record which showcases the band's influences without aping them. It blends them together in a decade spanning amalgam that builds on elements of 60s pop, jazz, rock and countless other genres in to one accessible and radio-friendly collection of tracks. It feels as if these songs belong next to each other, despite their differences and it's this that is the key to the band's appeal. Rarely does anything feel out of place and rarely does an EP this varied come off as tight as this one does, Plainview are clearly a band destined for bigger things.