Plum – Light Years, Dark Years – EP Review
Demonstrating a natural-inclination towards music that has a real party-atmosphere, chilled-vibes and exciting rhythm & grooves – Plum is kicking some ass on Light Years, Dark Years, their brand-new EP. Full of crunchy & distorted guitar-riffs, fantastic drum-rolls & fills and melody that soars through the psychedelic-rock hooks that rock throughout the EP, it sounds & seems as if Plum as certainly ready to declare themselves in the music-scene and make themselves known through these memorable songs of theirs…that’s the way I’m hearing it.
I’m hearing a band that’s really put the work in here to make their song-writing tight & the music/sound their own. They’re going to battle comparisons from everyone to bands like The Beatles, Wolfmother, Oasis, The Doors, Franz Ferdinand, Strawberry Alarm Clock and infinitely many-more as music-journalists and fans alike try to make sense of the Plum-sound and what box they fit into in their minds. It’s not an easy comparison…I could easily cite a dozen more that I’d be able to claim have potentially influenced the sound of these guys – but it’d be pretty damn rare to find one band that in-comparison, could sum it all up. Plum is bending genres and finding massive amounts of crossover appeal through their writing and ability to ride the edge of several genres & sounds within a single song – and so too, the entire Light Years, Dark Years EP.
They give you great options through their groove-based rock. Plum takes a harder rock-approach to the opening track, their title-tune “Light Years, Dark Years” fueled by a solid guitar-grind that creates an incredible energy and melody all at the same time. They put the work & effort to bring the vibe-up straight-away and instantly catch your attention with this shiny, ready-for-radio rocker; were it not for a somewhat lo-fi recording (similar to earlier music from The Black Keys) you’d more than likely assume that this first-cut came directly from the mainstream. Great hooks and ideas, all executed with both professionalism & precision…and a large dose of the reckless & wild-side of rock to keep the feeling raw, intense and real.
Personally…I really got into “Cosmic Vice.” For some of you out there, any song over three-minutes is a chore; for the rest of us…the longer songs lead to expanded ideas and true sonic adventures – just like Plum has done on this second track. Although I listened to the EP multiple-times…I found that “Cosmic Vice” really was a tune that stuck to me with its hypnotic, psychedelic-influenced grind, drone & vibe. Something about this song just screams the ‘freedom’ of music to me…you can hear how minimal the song is, yet how FULL it is at the same time. Plum has found guitar-riffs you’d love to play forever on this tune…and the drums alone could take the breath from your chest; as the song progresses and hits the wild chorus the vocals soar into the mix and the drums explode into exotic rhythms & fills. “Cosmic Vice” found awesome ways to keep me entertained for its six-plus minutes and amazing ideas, twists & turns in the music really kept the ears listening. Plum finds clever ways to make the minimal more complex…and in an example like “Cosmic Vice” where it might not take a ton of ingredients to make the entire recipe work – you can’t argue that this isn’t rock-music without the flavour you’re more than likely looking for…cause it IS.
“Drip” takes the sound of Plum to a more blues-rock-based sound that really feels like The Beatles-meet-The Doors tripping out & creating this distant but melodic tune. Really loved the breakdown in “Drip” more-so than any of the others you’ll find on this record – right around the 1:40 mark they strip it all back, the drums sound incredible, the guitars wild & vibrant…the lyrics, the energy, mood & tone…it all lines-up incredibly well. As Plum heads back into their blues-rock grind, “Drip” sounds increasingly inspired throughout its middle and drifts out smartly at the end, pounding out those final notes & chords.
The rhythm & hook of “Love Is In The Air” are pure-rock/pop confection…I’ll admit, there was a part of me that nearly felt guilty in so readily accepting this smooth set of hooks. I wouldn’t go nearly as far as saying it’s some sort of a guilty pleasure…but it IS a definite departure towards a much more pop-inspired vibe from what we’ve heard from Plum so far. Vocals reaching up to the falsetto and the overall bass/bottom-end groove make for a contrast in sound that seems to work favourably well for Plum…it’s definitely a little-less rock, but perhaps more accessible in nature to a wider audience as a result. Plus…you gotta hand it to Plum for making that switch in the 4th tune as the final song, “Hypnagaga” becomes a real blend of everything we’ve heard throughout the EP combined with their best on display – but it’s also a final-tune that really benefits from the smooth transition from “Love Is In The Air,” which sets us all up perfectly for the ending of Light Years, Dark Years.
I thought this ending was a truly great one. Solid rhythm and pulse to the groove & rhythm of “Hypnagaga” that really swings sharply through its hooks and various parts in the song-writing to form a true combination of the ideas, sounds, moods & atmospheres we’ve found on this EP. Excellent vocals accompanied by rich harmonies…and an overall confident approach that really makes Plum sound like they belong here in the present-day, blasting through your speakers. The breakdown on this final track is pretty damn addicting too…I gotta say, it gives my love for the breakdown of “Drip” a solid run for its money; but different than “Drip” was – “Hypnagaga” rides the switch of the breakdown right through to the end before busting once only through the riff that got us here in the first place to end it all off.
Great vibe on this record – it’s fun, it rocks, it grooves and it moves ya. And that’s what we’re all looking for on our playlists at one time or another – so go get yourself some Plum!
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