Plantman - Whispering Trees

Plantman - Whispering Trees
Album Reviews

Very much an indie rock album in a traditional sense, a record for bedroom introspection.

Label: Arlen
Released: 14th January 2013
Reviewer: Martyn Young
Plantman is the new project from singer-songwriter Matt Randall, formerly of Beatglider, a critically acclaimed yet largely commercially unheralded US indie rock band. In 'Whispering Trees', Randall and friends have created a clearly defined, starkly introspective world. It's unlikely to enjoy mass commercial success, but does offer a fine accompaniment to winter's long, dark nights.

They appear to specialise in emotive and doleful indie rock. Much of 'Whispering Trees’ is in the same realm as Mark Kozelek’s work with Red House Painters in the early nineties, both sharing a kind of affecting bruised melancholy. Plantman’s music survives on the strength of the songs. Warm and luxurious with lovely pretty melodies, the record's mix of monochrome guitar lines and sweeping anthemics is very engaging. Songs like the title track and the stirring ’Crackles’ are very impressive pieces of emotive indie rock, yet as undoubtedly lovely as many of them are, over the course of a 15 track record, a formulaic quality prevails.

The album certainly suffers for being a bit too one paced. The second half is filled with a number of slight and disappointingly unsubstantial efforts, though there is a tenderness and graceful quality that does bear repeated listens. What it lacks in sonic diversity it partly makes up for in with the strength of some of the best tracks, in particular via the lyrical imagery provided by Randall. Opening track ’Away With The Sun’ is a case in point, filled with enticing lines, “I was circling an old dance floor,” and a heartfelt honesty.

‘Whispering Trees’ is very much an indie rock album in a traditional sense, a record for bedroom introspection. It may lack slightly in ambition but in terms of fulfilling Plantman’s ideology to make gimmick free, classically-tinged emotive songs it does just fine.
Rating: 6/10
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