Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Plates of Cake on All Hands Electric Records

This one came in recenty straight from Jonathan, the lead singer of Plates of Cake on the gowanus label, All Hands Electric. It's a mellow vocal harmonic pop sound informed by jangly guitars which build the chorus on "As if the Choice Were Mine". The abstract lyric and winding melody is straight out of a psyche-influenced west coast sound, those huge ancient harmonies from a group content to sing together out in a field, or mic up the rehearsal barn space. But this was in fact conceived here in Brooklyn and their laid back delivery is an unusual direction for the hard, mean city, but that would explain the solid rock slant to the slight haze. They're from that era when the vocal harmony was king, just give it the barest of instrumental melody to hang on to and let the voices do the rest, as catchy as the Fresh & Onlys if more aligned more traditional cleaned up rock sounds, but again they're relying on that melody, which takes the most effort...a guitar can get along by itself just fine sometimes running through all those effects.

"Transit Trials" on the B-Side uses some heavy reverb stops, with that classic three beat kick and snare/high hat on the fourth, echoing all over the place. Those huge tambourine hits make this feel more contemporary, and Jonathan has an Alex Kapranos deep, sure feel to his vocals backed up again by upper octave harmonies from the rest of the band. It's a catchy storysong about the water behind the walls in the tunnel from NY to NJ. It's pretty delicate and about to fall apart.....the tunnel, not this tune...the fade out of crazy far off delay from the electric is the star of this one, a huge restraint, sounding more like summer than the scuzzy wet surf efforts do sometimes.

Check out these tracks on their bandcamp page and order this up from All Hands Electric, excellent sleeve art by Stan Vanderbeek, black vinyl, 200 copies.

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