The press release to Plumerai’s new album ‘Mondegreen’ comes with the self-effacing promise of “If you remember when shoegaze was a derogatory term for a branch of alternative pop music, this record’s for you”. In truth, the music is only slightly shoegaze-y and would more likely appeal to fans of female-fronted indie groups such as My Foolish Heart.
Eliza Brown is certainly a dominant present on the record and far more distinctive than other shoegaze vocalists. Her vocals possess a jazzy quality as she murmurs and meanders through opening track ’13’. The band are in excellent form for ‘Trip’ where they provide an nagging, infectious backdrop from which Brown swoops in and out and likewise for the brightness and colour of ‘Marco Polo’, the title track to last year’s EP and possibly their most effects-driven track.
Yet as much as Brown can make good songs into great ones, her moody approach could be viewed as disinterest as she seems to go through the motions on some of the less immediate tracks like ‘Come & Go’. On a more positive note, the album is distinguished by a couple of real curveballs as ‘Six Ton Gorilla’ successfully contrasts the band’s relaxed style with an inventive jazz-funk song structure whilst ‘Loss’ makes them sound like an obscure 4AD alt-country act.
If it needed a sub-genre, ‘Mondegreen’ might be loosely defined as “indie jazz” thanks to its unusual mix of styles. For the most part, it’s a winning formula too, even its languid exterior could do with a few more regular injections of excitement.
My Foolish Heart