Plants and Animals are a Canadian indie-rock band from Montreal which comprises guitarist-vocalists Warren Spicer and Nic Basque and drummer-vocalist Matthew Woody Woodley.
The trio began playing together as kids and emerged on the international scene in 2008.
“The Jungle” is the band`s fifth studio album and a follow up to the bands 2016`s “Waltzed in from the Rumbling”
The album opens up with the title track `The Jungle` and it begins with the sound you possibly expect in entering a jungle but put together electronically. A wonderful slice of indie pop with some enticing backing harmonies. A superbly contemplative and reflective offering which felt quite mesmerising at times but could be a little unnerving with the “Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs” shared along the way. The band felt that `Love That Boy` seemed to be about a father dealing with the weight of being a parent, remembering the magic of his own childhood and embracing the love and togetherness of his family. It had a real gentle and tranquil feel that allowed the lyrics to almost float atop.
`House On Fire` is a really high energy piece with synth splashes almost an anthem you`d see the masses dancing along to at a club or rave. The song arose from singer Warren’s feeling that a friend who was taking too many sleeping pills and might forget to turn his stove off. There`s a thumping beginning to `Sacrifice` with the vocals quite distant. But in less than two minutes it takes a curve with a gently shared chorus of “ I gave you the best years of my life, volunteered on your behalf, sacrifice it doesn`t matter, for company and lots of laughs” before returning back to a hard-hitting beat. In the last minute we enjoy a repeat of the chorus before the track fades out. “This is a song about what people are willing to do for feelings of acceptance and quick tastes of happiness,” explains the band.
`Get My Mind` launches with a gently plucked acoustic guitar then explodes into a spaced-out fuzzy journey with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in for good measure. It`s quite entrancing with some interesting thank you’s shared, possibly a nod to Warren`s father who passed away as the lyric ends “just to hear your voice one more time” quite moving. There`s no other way to describe `Le Queens` but as a dreamy pop song sung in French. Adèle Trottier-Rivard takes the lead vocal but her voice really harmonises so well with Warrens. The distorted guitar apparently came from drummer Woody experimenting with a sampler. The band shared that the song was inspired by “an evening in Queens, New York, dancing among strangers, time moving backwards in slow motion and falling in love.”
`In Your Eyes` is another quirky and enthrallingly laid back almost bewitching composition that will have you drifting off in your own thoughts and reflections. The album closes with `Bold` another slightly offbeat piece.
“The Jungle” is a really interesting album which will lift you out of any malaise you have. There are some really upbeat danceable tracks but also some anthemic and more relaxed and thought provoking quite compelling pieces. A real varied collection of tunes. The vocals reminded me of Talking Heads David Byrne at times but also of English synth-pop Blancmange`s Neil Arthur but the music is in a style of its own.
As a certain rock band would say, Welcome To “The Jungle”
Rating 9 /10