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Parc Avenue

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 15, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

2008 full length debut from the Canadian band. Parc Avenue, was shortlisted for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize and nominated for a 2009 Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. Plants and Animals were also given a 2009 Juno nomination for Best New Band.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 15, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Secret City Records
  • ASIN: B0013D8JRE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,848 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Cale E. Reneau on May 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of the reasons why I initially got into independent music several years back was because it all sounded new and fresh to me. Raised, like most, on an unhealthy diet of MTV and ClearChannel radio (surely the McDonald's and Burger King of the music world), artists like Of Montreal, The Shins, and The Postal Service introduced me to the fact that not all music has to sound the same. And that made a lasting impression on me. Nowadays, I'm all too aware of the fact that even a lot of indie music sounds far too normal for its own good, but the potential to break free from musical norms is still there. So when a band like Plants and Animals comes around with what is possibly the freshest take on indie rock since The Decemberists, I become utterly drawn to the music and can't help but rave about it.

Album-opener, "Bye Bye Bye" is a solemn piano ballad turned triumphant tent revival anthem, complete with a choir singing the song's title with about as much enthusiasm as is ever shown on Parc Avenue. Lead vocalist, Warren Spicer cries in a Bowie-esque howl, "What's gonna happen to you/ you have woke up to soon/ and found the world rearranged/...say goodbye to before/ you are not welcome anymore!" The song trots along at a steady pace, adding in instrumentation to thicken the mix and the end result is completely enthralling. "Good Friend" plays out more traditionally, like a cool, mellow rock song paired with shoe-gazer sentiments. The verses are head-bobbingly addictive, while Spicer notes, "It takes a good friend to say you've got your head up your a**," during the song's barely-there, string-filled chorus.

Without question, the centerpiece of Parc Avenue is "Faerie Dance," a 7-minute journey through at least three distinct musical styles, here blended perfectly, seamlessly.
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Format: Audio CD
Montreal trio Plants and Animals play whimsical folk rock songs with titles like "Faerie Dance" and "Feedback in the Field." So it's not surprising that there's a pastoral slant to their musical musings. Lead singer Warren C. Spider has a reedy timbre to his voice that gives the band's airy tunes an immediate and authentic quality. It serves them well on joyous woodland romps like "Bye Bye Bye" and an exquisitely hushed song called "Early in the Morning." But if there's one song that brings all of the group's best elements into play, it has to be the chillingly lonesome "Sea Shanty" - a perfect hymn to the mysteries of the deep. The album finishes with an eastern flavored jam called "Guru" that closes things out on a high-spirited note.

--Amy Wagner

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Format: Audio CD
"What's gonna happen to you?/You have forgotten to sing/and found the world rearranged/and now you're feeling so changed..."

With that introduction, Plants and Animals usher you into the world of "Parc Avenue," full of pastoral psychedelic shoegazer experimental-folk sea-chanty indie-rock. Yeah, they have some issues with picking a style, but this Montreal trio spins an adorably expansive little debut album that melds the earthy with the vaguely transcendent.

It opens with a Coldplayish piano ballad, blossoming into a soaring pop chorale like a condemning angelic choir. Warren Spicer's raw-edged vocals rise over the vibrant melody, telling us that "Today I saw a shadow/and I had the feeling you'd be another... we would not help ourselves/it's really easy to do/we never needed to..." punctuated by softer interludes.

They slip into a mellower, urgent rock sound in the uneasy, string-draped "Good Friend," and the ethereal rambling "Faerie Dance." Actually, they dabble in a new sound for almost every song -- 70s-style rock'n'roll, lush pastoral pop, haunting ballads, a wild joyous jam with a horn-riddled hallucinatory sound, a hyperactive sea shanty, and an acid-tinged finale that seems to be a celebration of electric guitar riffs.

If I had to find something to criticize about "Parc Avenue," it would be that this Montreal band is still finding their distinctive style -- although the album leans a bit more heavily on pastoral psychedelic jams in the second half. Plants and Animals bounce smoothly from retro rock'n'roll to a lush psychedelic style, and then over into some mellow unfolding jam sessions. I don't usually like jam bands, but this one was dense and intense enough to keep me listening.
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