Plants and Animals
The End of That
(Secret City)

It’s rare to find classic-rock tinged jams with so much swagger and juice that still have a sense of humor (not so much as to be a gag) and real artistry to the lyrics. “The moral of the story almost always ruins every word in it,” goes one line on the new record by Plants and Animals, a talented and eclectic Canadian band. They’re sometimes described as “post-classic-rock,” which is a hilarious genre designation -- I’m not exactly sure what it means, but if it has something to do with having moved past the punk and grunge rejection of classic rock’s excess back to a more aloof place where one can enjoy the big pleasures of classic rock without exactly buying into all the pretense - then that sounds about right. Plants and Animals bring to mind bands like Spoon, who balance the large gestures of rock showmanship with a kind of sober minimalist groove. And these guys know how to deploy some handclaps, too. They’re shape-shifters though; some tracks (like the wonderful opener “Before”) have the blue-eyed hippie soul sound of Ray LaMontagne, and others go for the more glammy rock bombast of, say, Urge Overkill (check out the muscular “2010.”) The righteous bleary-eyed title track contains the lines: “You make it so easy to hide in the scenery in your vintage jewelry/like some fucked-up bumble bee, heading for the potpourri/of the lady’s room/Wait don’t go, you turn me on so, with your bee-sting lips and your pepper-grinder hips.” That -- like this whole record -- is better and more fun than it should be. -- John Adamian