When you're a new band, one of the biggest challenges can be describing the style of music you play to journalists, especially if it doesn't fit into a neat and tidy category. Take the case of the Montreal trio Plants and Animals: Though their songs evoke several classic-rock styles (psych rock, arena rock, folk), their grand emotional surges and artsy digressions recall forward-looking acts like fellow Canadians The Arcade Fire. Guitarist and vocalist Warren Spicer, however, has a nifty way of summing up the group: "We sound more like the past than we do the present." On this year's full-length debut, Parc Avenue, Plants and Animals' potential stylistic mishmash stays loose and lively, thanks to the band's playful approach. Neither ironic nor highbrow, Plants and Animals wander through their record collection looking for pleasure. Consequently, the album's musical goulash can be awfully tasty, whether on the wistful "À l'Orée des Bois" or the garage-rocker "Keep It Real," which gracefully morphs into a folkie lullaby. Maybe soon enough these guys won't have to describe their style anymore — instead, future new bands who wander all over the map will just be called Plants and Animals-esque.
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