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Preview: Plantain at Blank Club

In Music

“I’ve tried to not sound like a single songwriter. I have an extensive music collection. I just do what sounds good for each song,” Fenwicke says.

That’s not to say there isn’t a distinct sound on the album. It has an off-kilter quality, both in terms of the weird living room recording production and the band’s off-beat groove: The singing wanders at time. The lyrics are abstract. The band drags a half second behind the beat, giving it an almost drunken sound, much like the brilliantly flawed early Pavement records

“It gives the album a distinct sound that I like. It’s not quite perfect,” Fenwicke says.

One obvious similarity between Fall of a Candy Empire and the two Mumlers records is how they utilize a variety of non-traditional rock instruments. Live, Plantain are a more standard rock trio, but on the record there is everything from guitars, bass, banjo, drums, keyboards, horns, a musical saw and something called a marxophone (which is basically a cross between a mini-piano and a mandolin) All the instruments, with the exception of the drums, bass and banjo, were recorded by Fenwicke.

“I kind of wish I were an octopus and had eight different sets of arms and maybe an extra set of lungs to play horn while I sang. That’s why I like recording so much. It allows me to layer everything cause I’m a multi-instrumentalist,” Fenwicke says. In the Mumlers, he would switch between horns, guitars and keyboards on stage during shows.

Fenwicke’s tendency towards less standard rock instruments started early in life. His parents enrolled him in piano lessons as a kid where he learned musicals, classical pieces and Disney songs. His father played the French horn in different wind groups. His mother was a classically trained singer and also played the viola. Fenwicke discovered rock and roll in high school and became obsessed with it—old 60s rock, new alternative rock, everything. He took up the guitar partly because there was so little rock music in his house and it was a way to establish his own identity.

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