Weekly Spins

Take it as You Please

The latest from Plants and Animals may be their best yet.

Plants and Animals
The End of That
Secret City Records

Hometown indie rockers Plants and Animals may have just produced their tour de force with The End of That. This incredible offering is their most accessible, upbeat and impressive material so far. While ‘mature’ may be a little cliché, to say the band is more accomplished and diversified seems more accurate. Because this is exactly what has happened with The End of That.

The production on this record is noticeably crisp and Warren Spicer’s lyrics seem personal, in a positive and genuine way. Their self-proclaimed label of “post-classic rock” is out in full force; contagious riffs fill songs that sit on a grander scale than their former efforts. The influence of classic rock is far more apparent on this record than their previous material, combining with their modern, indie sound.

The album opens with the beautiful acoustic number “Before,” which may very well be the most stunning and alluring song the band has ever recorded. The atmospheric sound they achieve is remarkable. It sways the listener away from the get-go, prepping them for two solid rock n’ roll tracks, “Song For Love” and “Lightshow.” The band perfects an acoustic backing on almost all the tracks, resulting in a bigger, warmer sound.

Before this release, it would have been dubious whether they could ever match the Polaris nominated Parc Avenue, but with The End of That this is an early candidate for album of the year. This is easily the band’s most ingenious and accomplished record.

Plants and Animals / March 10 / Cabaret du Mile End (5240 Parc Ave.)

I Am Gemini
Saddle Creek Records

Omaha’s Cursive are no strangers to the concept model, but this record takes it to a higher level. I Am Gemini is their seventh studio album and tells the story of two brothers (one good, one evil) who are separated at birth and unexpectedly reunite in a house that is not a home (according to the band’s website).

The Nebraska natives have always been known for raw and emotional output in their songs. This remains constant with I Am Gemini, although not quite as ferocious as their earlier work.

It would be no surprise if the band gains new fans because of this record. It’s not as heavy or chaotic as The Ugly Organ or Mama I’m Swollen (which was where the band left off) instead there are strong hints of pop and an overall change in sound. You can still tell this is Cursive, but I am Gemini will appeal to fans of pop-punk and even mainstream rock, illustrated by the catchiness of “Double Death” and “Gemini.” Although vintage Cursive shows up in full force on songs like “Warmer Warmer” and “Wowowow,” with dark interludes like “Lullaby for No Name” and the hypnotic “This House a Lie,” the band develops more musical character than ever before.

This isn’t the strongest offering from the band, but is a must for a fan who can appreciate a slight change in direction. For newcomers, however, it’s best to start with the early stuff to see how much the band has really developed.