When the late ‘70s indie-flavoured, avant-garde art-rock New Wave blast began to kick in, there were a world of experimental talent that may have garnered just a few adherents overall, but it didn’t stop them from being universally recognized by the cultish respect of those fans, who were clearly devoted. Since, avant-garde-ism has never really faded away; it just remained underneath the radar.
The music of Boston’s Plumerai is highly avant-garde with its willingness to merge unusual instrumentation with unconventional vocals. Plumerai extend their musical reach by mixing accordion with a shimmering Cocteau Twins-like guitar, or by blending a Chinese table-like, multi-stringed instrument called the guzheng (seen in films like Hero), with standard rock instruments. Add the intriguing voice of Elizabeth Ezell to the depths of their lyrics and you have a notable band worth paying attention to.
Without Number contains 9 tracks, all adroitly fascinating but never intended for the ears of the masses. The opening song, “Home Again,” starts off accessibly enough, making it a well-placed song, a snare of sorts. Once you’re hooked by the song, with its time-bomb ticking guitars, you are then escorted through a collection of songs that, at times remind vocally of Bjork and musically like few others.
The music of Plumerai bears noting as their style will attract the attention of music fans interested in music not-by-numbers. I have a devout interest in such music because it keeps it all fresh but not subscribing to the known formulas of bands seeking to stay within a box for the sake of discovery.
The real question is…how much experimentation can you handle? If you can do Radiohead, you could enjoy Plumerai.