Linger by PlightRelease date: March 22, 2019
Label: Self Released
Plight combines the slow moodiness of early postrock/mathrock bands like Slint and Tortoise with restrained midrange vocals of bands like the Church or Interpol. The band’s first album Linger, out March 22, features a six-song collection of slow, but powerful, songs that take the listener to a place of twilight despondence and melancholy.
While the general ambiance is shoegaze lush, the instrumentation, particularly the nuanced interaction of guitars and rhythm section, draw from bands like Slint and Shipping News. The drums and bass together provide a layer as pronounced and defined as the melody, tightly woven and succinct. The song structures are loose versions of traditional verse/chorus architecture, that contain the emotional conveyance of traditional songs, but get you there in a more circuitous manner. Choruses are often big, heavy affairs that project a subdued emotional sensibility, a methadone low of sorts, despite the bigness. This leaves the band plenty of space to explore complex breakdowns, dissonant harmonies and intricate musical interludes.
Singer Matt Curtis has a wonderful uncontrived midrange vocal delivery. Sometimes he sounds a bit like Lou Reed singing a sad version of ‘A Perfect Day’, sometimes a bit more like the Church, other times you get the sense you are listening to a younger Paul Banks, of Interpol. The band’s lyrical content focuses mostly on personal themes; relationship changes, unreturned love, guilt, inadequacy, decision uncertainty, the mundane extraordinaire, drama that is both honest and relatable. The stories told, the conflicts, the characters, all feel very alive and authentic.
The band started as a solo effort in California, before Curtis moved to New York where he met the current lineup of musicians. Writing became a collaborative effort, though, as the band aimed at taking influences from slowcore, shoegaze, 90s emo and the like, bands like Duster, Slowdive, Slint, Seam, Sunny Day Real Estate, Hum, Cloakroom, and True Widow, and make it their own thing, with their own voice.
I think they succeeded. The album really doesn’t have a bad song on it. For me, the standout song is ‘Caught’ listed above, which is a good showcase of the band’s tight musicianship and thoughtful writing. However, my choice is not an obvious one in that there is much on the record to explore and listeners will have an easy time finding another favorite. In all, if you like bands like Cloakroom or the early postockers of the American Midwest mentioned above, you’ll like this album. So far, it’s one of my favorites of the year.