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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Plumb -- candycoatedwaterdrops


It's a road trip to Florida in the summer of 1999, and my cousin Adrian hands me a CD. As you can see, my cousins and I took a lot of road trips. "Dude, the first song on this new Plumb CD sounds like it could be the theme song from a James Bond movie." We throw it on. Spy guitar. The London Symphony Orchestra. An epic female voice singing about the world falling apart.
The song, "Late Great Planet Earth," from Plumb's sophomore album, candycoatedwaterdrops, does sound like the theme from a James Bond movie. In fact, it is as good or better of a James Bond song than Garbage's "The World Is Not Enough," released later that year, for the lousy James Bond film of the same name (Pierce Brosnan = great Bond saddled, outside one notable exception, with the worst scripts of the franchise).
It is, at this point, easy to get the wrong impression of Plumb's candycoatedwaterdrops. If you look at the cover, you see Plumb herself, looking cool, rebellious, and defiant. However, candycoatedwaterdrops is not an edgy album. It is a pop-rock album.
Pop-rock is not generally my favorite genre, however, Plumb (aka Tiffany Arbuckle) is an excellent songwriter, and this particular album finds her young and hungry. These songs are so well-written, I changed my intiial 8/10 review, which was biased against the genre, into a 9/10. These songs combine great hooks with excellent instrumentation and solid, sometimes thought-provoking lyrics. Musically, there's a great amount of variety from song to song. The Bond-esque, previously-mentioned first track, the wall of irresistible chorus-power of "Stranded," the straight-forward pop-rock of "Here With Me," "Phobic's" gentle minimalism, "Damaged's" electronic loops, the alt-country of the self-titled closer--this album visits plenty of musical locales, even if they aren't all near where Adrian described that first track.
I can't fault candycoatedwaterdrops other than to say that it doesn't necessarily break any molds, but that isn't such a big deal when the album does what it does so well.
Really, who can resist "Stranded." Not the cast of One Tree Hill, the best show featured in this Youtube video, comprised solely of clips from One Tree Hill.

1999 Essential
1. Late Great Planet Earth 3:56
2. Stranded 3:39
3. Here With Me 4:04
4. Lie Low 3:12
5. Phobic 4:29
6. God-Shaped Hole 3:50
7. Solace 2:56
8. Worlds Collide: A Fairy Tale 3:50
9. Damaged 3:56
10. Drugstore Jesus 4:33
11. CandyCoatedWaterDrops 5:25

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