Plants and Animals- Parc Avenue

RiYL: Kevin Drew, Devendra Banhart, Grizzly Bear

When I first listened to the With/Avec EP just a few weeks ago, I was unimpressed. I really wanted to like it, but it just wasn’t happening. Even songs like “Faerie Dance,” which grabbed my attention on Parc Avenue, didn’t quite do it for me on the EP. Plants and Animals underlined most of their weaknesses on that EP, in my opinion. I’m a fairly patient guy, but the interludes and outros in both “Faerie Dance” and “Guru” were simply longer than was necessary. Their attempts at “epic” songwriting seemed to fall just within a short stretch of it. I came away thinking “Well… Plants and animals know what ‘pretty’ is… And they like to jam.”

Not so much on Parc Avenue. Well, they still jam on the aforementioned tracks, but the album is peppered with high-energy progressive acoustic tracks that give them the context they really needed for their more lengthy tracks. The movements within them are actually fairly adventurous, yet they come off as very natural and effortless. Most new songs are shorter and faster than the ones that on the EP. The only exception is the eight-minute epic “A New Kind of Love” which, unlike the earlier songs, has an immediately familiar, epic nature.

I feel that this “immediately familiar” aspect of their music is important to stress. Otherwise, I don’t think I’ll be able to pinpoint what makes them so enjoyable. The instrumentals and production work are never very far-reaching, and the singing can strike in an uncomfortable way, almost as if you’re faced with an ersatz Devendra Banhart or Win Butler at times. Although one may be hesitant to accept it, the style is very appropriate, and after repeated listens I can’t imagine it any other way.

Plants and Animals- Parc Avenue