PLANTS AND ANIMALS “House on Fire”

A driving number peppered with bits of synth-y chaos — think of a chiller version of Wolf Parade”
— Consequence of Sound

“an upbeat and energetic anthem that seemed to be aligning perfectly with the surreal summer the world will experience this year.”
— Glide Magazine

Montreal indie rock trio Plants and Animals announce The Jungle, their fifth studio album set to be released October 23rd via Secret City Records. Their shortest album yet and certainly their boldest, The Jungle is eight acts in a world full of noise. The album is auto-produced and was recorded at Mixart, their studio in Montreal. Lead single and video “House on Fire” is an upbeat and energetic anthem that seemed to be aligning perfectly with the surreal summer the world will experience this year. “House on Fire,” came from Warren’s haunting feeling that a friend who was taking too many sleeping pills might forget to turn his stove off.

The band explains: “We started working on this a couple of years ago. Warren was afraid for a friend’s health. He thought he was self-medicating too much and not taking care of himself. He couldn’t let go of this image of an overworked dude swallowing too many sleeping pills and falling asleep with the stove on. So it began as the place next door, sometime before Greta Thunberg turned the expression into a rallying cry, where Earth is the house and the people are sleeping. It’s terrifying, and on the whole we’re not unlike this friend, are we?”

The Jungle starts with electronic drums that sound like insects at night. A whole universe comes alive in the dark. It’s beautiful, complex and unsettling. Systematic and chaotic. All instinct, no plan. Voices taunt,“yeah yeah yeah.” This tangled time in which we find ourselves is reflected back in shadows.

Every song is such a landscape. The first one grinds to a halt and you become a kid looking out a car window at the moon, wondering how it’s still on your tail as you speed past a steady blur of trees. You watch a house go up in a yellow strobe that echoes the disco weirdness of Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer and David Bowie. You get pummelled by a rhythm then set free by a sudden change of scenery—the wind stops, clarity returns. You’re under a streetlight in Queens, soft-focus, slow motion, falling in love. You speak French now too, in case you didn’t already. Bienvenue.

These are personal experiences made in a volatile world, and they reflect that world right back at us, even by accident. There’s one song Nic sings to his teenage son who was dealing with climate change anxiety and drifting into uncharted independence. The band carries it out slowly together into a sweet blue horizon. Warren wrote the words to another shortly after losing his father. It’s about the things we inherit not necessarily being the things we want. In a broader sense, that’s where a lot of people find themselves right now.

Plants and Animals is an iconic Montreal-based trio that began playing together as kids and emerged on the international scene in 2008 with Parc Avenue. The band has developed a varied cult following ever since, built on the shoulders of their self-produced records and their intense live shows. Parc Avenue was a critically acclaimed record (Pitchfork 8/10) released during the famous Montreal-is-the-new-Seattle music moment. This release set Plants and Animals as an incredible live force, a powerful songwriting trio and opened doors for them to tour the world many times over with people like Portugal. The Man, Gnarls Barkley and more. Three other releases followed and kept the band’s status up high: La La Land (2010) “they’re complicated and gorgeous [songs] and feel as innate as desire itself.” (Paste Magazine), The End of That (2012) “vibrant, constantly rewarding” (Spin) and Waltzed in from the Rumbling (2016) “… the strike rate is remarkably high” ★★★★ (Q Magazine). The band was shortlisted (2008) and longlisted (2010) for the Polaris Music Prize and received multiple JUNO Awards and ADISQ Awards nominations over the years.

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Zach Martin

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