Settlefish’s newest album “ The Plural of the Choir” comes to a slow start and finally reaches the heights with “The Barnacle Beach”. The track benefits mostly from an interesting and innovative way of arrangement that staggers a myriad of vocals to draw all listeners along for the ride. Continuing the At The Drive-In esque vocals that marked their previous Deep Elm release, “Dance A While, Upset”, Settlefish ride the crest from their previous track and form the energy into a fairly poppy type of music. The amount of contuity enjoyed by Settlefish between their two albums is leaps and bounds beyond anything else that bands have came out with – I guess the old axiom to not fix what isn’t broken is really present here.
Maintaining the high energy through tracks like “Two Cities, Two Growths”, Settlefish make their “Plural of the Choir” spin through extraordinarily fast. The virtuosic guitars played by BG and ET as well as PP’s bass stand for the state of affairs on the entire disc, as Settlefish makes different strides in specific fields during the 15 cuts of the disc. For example, “Rooms” continues the odd arrangements that are strewn across this disc, but takes the omni-present bass line to liven up the multi-part harmonies to the degree that the track feels infused for more than a little reggae. Settlefish ends “The Plural of the Choir” with a more subtle track in “We Please the Night, Drama”, a track that explores the intricacies of arrangement that are often taken for granted on the average Settlefish track. Shucking away the distortion and the noise that find themselves present on most of the disc, Settlefish settle into a Bright Eyes feel, holding together a fairly quiet flow while simultaneously bursting forth like a blooming flower.
The instrumental interludes on “The Plural of the Choir” are precursors to the final track in that pieces like “Getting the Clicks Out Of Our Heart” create the same general atmosphere that is expounded later on in the disc. For what are seen in rap music as skits, these brief sojourns into music that at times feels disconnected from the disc are some of the most solid tracks on the disc, owing more to their short duration and desire to maintain relevancy. Settlefish may not have any radio-friendly tracks on “The Plural of the Choir”, but keep in mind that the average track on this disc is miles above anything that popular radio could create.
Top Tracks: Blinded by Noise, Rooms
Settlefish – The Plural of the Choir / 2005 Deep Elm / 15 Tracks / http://www.settlefish.com / http://www.deepelm.com / Reviewed 09 March 2005