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Settlefish - The Plural Of The Choir

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 3 / 5 / 2005



Settlefish - The Plural Of The Choir
Label: Deep Elm
Format: CD

intro

Broad-ranging and wildly ambitious fourth album from thoughtful Italian indie rockers Settlefish, which shows a great band establishing itself


Some bands create their best music when they define their style, becoming cohesive and refined. Others only come into their own when they tear the hatches down, and let their music roam free. Settlefish are without a doubt members of the second category. Their music up to now (on debut album, 'Dance A While', 'Upset' and on a split record with Sounds Like Violence and Desert City Soundtrack) has been good, comprising of melodic yet thoughtful indie rock. But on 'The Plural of The Choir', Settlefish allow themselves the freedom to make an album that will still be fun to listen to years from now. As with all the truly great album openers, ‘Kissing Is Chaos’ grabs one's attention and showcases all that will make the rest of the album so impressive. It builds slowly, from a reverberating intro, slowly benefitting from jangly guitars, before a crescendo of noise and a burst of drums. We are treated to a powerful, memorable song, with the right balance of melody and instrumental dexterity. Singer Jonathan Clancy has not the most technically proficient voice (indeed there are moments when he sounds like Blink 182 guitarist Tom Delonge), but he is a very decent songwriter, producing songs of broad scope without sounding like he’s trying to show off. The band’s real strength, however, is their seemingly innate rhythmic dexterity. Phillipe Soldati is a wonderfully precise drummer, lending insanely technical, yet somehow dreamy, drum lines to most of the album’s songs. The best example, I feel, of Settlefish’s original sound is ‘The Barnacle Beach’, which has a fantastic drum pattern at its base, and a catchy melody (wholly original, comprising of strange staccato vocal lines) with short, stabbing guitar lines, and some wonderful interplay from the bassist. It achieves the sort of unrelenting energy that the much missed Dismemberment Plan did so well. The effect is only expanded when the next song, ‘Getting the Clicks Out of Our Hearts’ is a short, pretty, acoustic based instrumental, a perfect example of the album’s ambitious sonic range. 'The Plural of The Choir' is produced by Brian Deck, who was also behind the decks when Modest Mouse performed their masterpiece, 'The Moon and Antarctica'. Both albums have similar histories. Both bands had carved out some impressive albums, but suddenly excelled themselves. Both albums are broad and wildly ambitious. But neither do this by losing the thread to their initial ambitions. It is simply that at this point, both bands started writing much better songs, and became much better musicians. Italian music is cruelly ignored by the music media here in Britain. This is sad because bands like The Juniper Band, Lo-Fi Sucks and The Candies are all superb. It will be a brave soul, however, that ignores Settlefish. On 'The Plural of The Choir' a great band has established itself.



Track Listing:-
1 Kissing Is Chaos
2 Oh Well
3 The Barnacle Beach
4 Getting The Clicks Out Of Our Hearts
5 It Was Bliss!
6 The Marriage Funeral Man
7 To The North
8 Sparrow You Will Fly
9 Blinded by Noise
10 The Second Week Of Summer
11 Two Cities, Two Growths
12 Rooms
13 Ice In The Origin
14 Girl Understanding Song
15 We Please The Night, Drama



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interviews


Interview with Jonathan Clancy (2005)
Settlefish - Interview with Jonathan Clancy
Settlefish's second album 'The Plural of the Choir' is in the tradition of Pavement, the Pixies and Modest Mouse, but with its instrumental passages and parade of short, sharp songs,is also unique. Vocalist Jonathan Clancy chats to Ben Howarth about it


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