Album Review: Plants and Animals | The End of That

by Maggie Beauvais

No more dillydallying, y’all. That infamous lioness of a seasonal gateway month has officially arrived, and it’s time for us to take a moment of silence for our cold-weather mental struggles and then forget ’em. But fear not this task! The Montreal-born boy maestros of Plants and Animals can help you rile you up for summer road-trip fantasies with their third album, The End of That.

In making The End of That, Plants and Animals abandoned their nervy, impulse-driven songwriting approach for one that took place in what the band describes as “in a cave and off the clock.” The result of this creative process is an album–pretend The End of That is a person for a second–that has reached its “20-something prime” and is “confident in a new, unmasked way, young, excited, going through some shit, and will be at the party tonight.”  Instrumentally, The End of That embraces the law of opposites without inhibition. The album’s sound is equal parts easy-breezy and minimalist hip–think avant rock jam band The Slip meets the post-punk beats of Spoon, and apply classic rock structures, as well as a pinch of country twang. Vocally, the band is just as much a group of plainspoken storytellers as they are lost boys awash with big emotional questions. Think Grandpa Dylan meets The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach in his more worried moments.

Lyrically, the songs navigate the limbo stage that is casting off from adolescence into early adulthood. The album’s opener, “Before,” is a super heart-heavy yet serene ambling of acoustic guitar through the subtly weepy seasons of love gone lost. The album’s title track takes on a more playful disposition about “mopin and draggin’ [your] feets” and is a fun and shamelessly dorky clap-along that pays tribute to “being all the things it sucks to be.” The album’s single “Lightshow” is the emotional apex of The End of That. The vocals holler over hard seesawing guitar riffs and big percussion crashes that mimic the drama of exploding fireworks. It’s a composition so visceral that it feels like a real-time broadcast of a heart suddenly devastated. The album’s closer “Runaways” is an anthem for what us quarter-century-aged folk call “home”–an untethered space that is somewhere “gone from the hills and under the stars,” a town in which “running for our lives” is what people do for a living. 

Plants and Animals will be at Littlefield in Brooklyn on April 17th and at the Mercury Lounge the following night. In the meantime, check out their video for “Lightshow” below:

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