Still House Plants

The Wire 393

 

"When I first saw Still House Plants for the first time last year, they left me giddy with excitement. Four art school kids playing a curious mix of lo-fi indie and free jazz, with blissed out female vocals? This was everything I'd been looking for in a Glasgow guitar band and then some. There's a beautiful sense of adventure to their music, as if they're still surprising themselves with their capabilities. That's not to suggest they're shambling naifs; this young band have a strong sense of identity and purpose. Since they released their debut cassette in July, they've gigged at Cafe Oto and enjoyed late night BBC airplay.

Still House Plants' guitar minimalism invites comparison to 1990s slowcore groups such as Bedhead and Codeine, but while their like crawl in Slint's gloomy shadow, the Glasgow band trace an alternative history of post-rock that begins with Talk Talk's Laughing Stock. As a result, their sound is far warmer and jazz influenced, with Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach's Tracey Thorne meets Liz Fraser vocals unfolding over Finlay Clark's slow and deliberate Fender chords. On the opening track "Warm In The Car", that hypnotic approach might seem a little tentative, but it soon draws you in, so that by the time "Panels" rolls by, it sounds almost anthemic. At the start of "Obi/Lowe's" they attempt their own rickety form of free jazz, but their subtler engagement with the form on "The House Sound of Chicago" is ultimately more rewarding. As Clark holds down a lilting two-chord figure, David Kennedy's drums skip lightly over asymmetric time signatures. Hickie-Kallenbach and saxophonist Calum O'Connor float serenely on top; their lyrical melodies yielding a gorgeous piece of DIY harmolodic pop."