Montreal-based Plants and Animals’ newest release La La Land is a fun, upbeat record that showcases why the band has been gaining recognition in the indie music scene for a few years now. Their first full-length album, Parc Avenue, was nominated for two JUNO awards in 2009 and was short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize in 2008. The band began as a more experimental group, recording long instrumental tracks on cassette tapes that played on particular themes and folk sounds. While recording Parc Avenue, singer Warren Spicer started adding vocals to the tracks, and the new incarnation of Plants and Animals was born.
La La Land is more polished and put-together than Parc Avenue, but the band hasn’t lost their signature sound. The album is entertaining from start to finish, mixing horn-filled dance-rock like “American Idol” with slower tracks like “Game Shows” that show their roots as an experimental instrumental band. However, this influence doesn’t weigh down the record with too much abstraction and experimentation, but rather adds an interesting dimension to a more typical-sounding rock song.
Overall, there is very little to complain about with this release – it’s easy to see why Plants and Animals have succeeded where so many other Canadian rock bands have gotten lost in the shuffle.