13 Nov Premiere: Plum – ‘Black Doris’ EP
Black Doris feels like an important record.
It has this thick air of pensiveness surrounding it, a hazy mist of textured shoegaze, with layer upon layer of instrumental melancholia.
The bedroom project of Caleb Jacobs (The Cathy’s), Plum is not a sound easy to tie down. It’s ponderous without seeming mopey, a trap that many shoegaze artists fall into. Yes, you can hear elements of Slowdive and Ride in their synthesised walls of sound, but there is also the jangle of The Go-Betweens present, and a touch of Beach House in the construction of the guitar harmonics.
The Beach House relevance is perhaps most pertinent in the opening track, ‘Tiny Feet’, where the layers of warm synths are intruded upon by a syrupy guitar line that sways with Jacobs’ vocals. Much like Alex Scally of Beach House, Jacobs does not give great variation to his guitar melody, allowing repetition in the riff to add to the washed out aesthetic of the track. Similarly, the lack of coherency in the vocals gives it the enigmatic tinge that would no doubt draw the comparisons to other shoegaze luminaries and influences.
Built around lo-fi production that crackle and pierces, ‘Reveal’ is the strongest of the EP. “I wanted something that you could feel/how did you know where to find me?” helps maintain the ambiguity that surrounds the EP, a chorus that holds elements that one could relate to, without making a whole lot of sense. The hook seems basic however has you returning, and the sound of the track jumping in the opening to some degree introduces the world of ambient and experimental music. ‘Pavement’, although not as hook-laden, still nestles itself within your subconscious, a melody that simply won’t leave your head. What I love about this track is its sudden, jarring and overdrive-heavy synth patches, that only last a second or two, but leave an imprint upon the otherwise gentle first single.
The final track, ‘Giv.’ works beautifully as a closing track. Opening with an acoustic twang that evokes memories of Cool Sounds ‘Control’, the track introduces a subtle strain to the vocals of Jacobs. Others may find such a strain to be countering against the very framework of the EP, and whatever genre one may choose to place it within.
However, it is touch of reality that brings the EP together, in that it slices through the near otherworldly sounds of Plum. Without it, Black Doris could have stumbled into the pile of monotony that surrounds dream pop and its offshoots. However, it is the strain of the vocals and the crackle of the production that screams the authenticity of a bedroom producer, and it is this authenticity that makes ‘Black Doris’ rather transcendental in its sound.