Plumes Plumes

Plumes Plumes
Known as Flotilla over the course of two excellent albums, the ambitious musical partnership of Geof Holbrook and Veronica Charnley has reached sublime new heights on their debut as Plumes. Harpist Eveline Gregoire-Rousseau still figures prominently into the arrangements, but the sonic palette of Plumes has burst even further open to include lush instrumentation of whatever sort is necessary for the song, along with greater attention to sound texturing in the production. It was difficult enough to find comparison points for Flotilla ― referencing Radiohead captured the spectacular melodies and complex rhythms, but failed to recognize the band's joyous positivity ― but Plumes has achieved such a distinct voice that even simplifying the description to "classical/indie" only paints part of a transcendent picture. With an eight-minute, Debussy-inspired, fully-orchestrated centrepiece based upon the Greek myth of Hero and Leander, composer Holbrook and singer/songwriter Charnley are operating near Sufjan Stevens territory, but have also retained a sense of raw rock energy in propulsive tracks like "Phonebooth" and created a godly amalgam of Afro-funk and organic soul for "Away From Home," this year's grooviest track. Plumes is more easily digestible and less confrontational in its experimentalism than Dirty Projectors's Swing Lo Magellan, but is every bit as musically sophisticated and deserving of album of the year consideration. (Bam)