What do two friends who grew up making music together in the same place do when they end living on the opposite side of the country? If I asked this question in 1995 the answer would have been to find a new friend who plays music but luckily it’s 2014 and all you need is a simple Internet connection to collaborate. This was the case for Bates Rambow and Will Evans who go by Plaster Saint.
The guys just released a self-titled lo-fi album Plaster Saint, which sports twelve original songs that were recorded, mixed and mastered by the band. Musically, Plaster Saint is a cocktail of genres including everything from rock to Americana. The eclectic blend of styles doesn't always benefit the fluidity of the album but the duo presents you with a couple of accomplished, catchy songs.
The album starts off with the solid “Introduction,” which I was hoping would formulate in a full-fledged song. They combine a crying harmonica with solemn warm strings and effective percussion. Luckily, they follow up “Introduction” with another highlight entitled “Deepest Desire.” I’m not sure if it was intentional or not but there is this engaging nonchalant vibe they pull off during the verse that is money. It’s a jazzy, hip-hop type vibe but once the chorus comes and they introduce a sloppy distorted guitar .
“Roses of Wasco” is a complete departure that has its roots in Americana and bluegrass. The vocals sounded exaggerated almost ironic but also has its charm. I have to admit when the chorus kicks in they pull of a super catchy sing-along melody that is hard to resist.
“Taking A Toll” is a straight-up rock song that tips its hat to bands like Led Zeppelin while “The Good News” is a bass heavy atmospheric piece that serves as a canvas for snippets of news samples and spoken/singing ramblings. “We Are The Same” contains engaging Stephen Malkmus type vocals in combination with indie rock sounding guitars.
The quality of the recording can be hard to endure when they introduce a lot of instrumentation (especially distorted guitars) but it sounds pleasant during songs that have more space in them. Despite some minor aesthetic issues Plaster Saint is an enjoyable listen. It’s rather scattered in vision but some of the songs are good enough that they get a pass.
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