I'm a sucker for a good concept record and when said concept record is done by a band wary of the cheesiness, pandering, and handholding common to concept albums, it's even better. Better still is when it's a series of concept records, like Plants' seasonal series. We got The Mind Is a Bird in the Hand this spring, which functioned as the band's "springtime album," the Totem CD-R was the summer album, Double Infinity, with all its day-long drones and stoned-out gray skies and drums is the fall record, and the as yet unreleased Photosynthesis will be the big winter bruiser. Plants play Acme on Friday, December 8. I asked Plants' singer/Mercury contributor Joshua Blanchard what was up.
MERCURY: So, tell us about the seasonal records...
JOSHUA BLANCHARD: Well, first off I have to give props to our friends, Nice Nice. They did a series of thematic seasonal EPs a couple years back called Spring, Fall, etc., and I'm sure I was definitely influenced by them. Plants are an overly prolific band and having the goal of a release per season seemed like a great goal for us. Since we have relatively open-ended ideas about what we can do together and still call it "Plants," it gives us the opportunity to put out song-oriented albums, moody, drone pieces, or stony acoustic jams. Getting schedules lined up with labels and distributors can be tricky, so we'll see if our fourth release, Photosynthesis, actually makes it out by the end of winter!
How do the records reflect the seasons?
Well, the funny thing about Oregon seasons is that three out of four are all about rain. There's definitely a rain-soaked melancholy vibe to our first record, The Mind Is a Bird in the Hand. Totem, which we recorded on my 30th birthday at the Oregon coast, was released in the summer and is definitely on a lighter, acoustic tip. Double Infinity was recorded at home and at the Artistery for a fall release. Photosynthesis hasn't been released yet, but it has a darker, ambient feel that would be a perfect listen for cold winter nights.
What's next after the series is done?
Well, as if all these other recordings aren't enough, we're getting started on a new album, Pegasus, which is the best collection of pop songs we could muster. Most of the material we've been playing live lately has been Pegasus songs. I'm really most excited about this one because it's really pushed our songwriting and arrangement abilities as far as they can go. Expect lots of harmonies, string sections, and harpsichords!
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